Scottish Liberal Democrats set out plans to grow agriculture  

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat agriculture spokesperson Cllr Claire McLaren has highlighted the party’s plans to grow Scottish agriculture and make the party the voice of rural Scotland.

She was speaking at. the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Scottish Liberal Democrat plans include:  

  • Implementing clearer agricultural frameworks to give farmers certainty and enhance climate protection.  
  • Enhance consumer awareness of the benefits of cutting food miles and using local produce.
  • Protect and extend current food security provisions.  
  • Introduce a system of croft-proofing.  
  • Introduce realistic water abstraction frameworks.  

Earlier this month, Scottish Liberal Democrats also called for the Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs Secretary to meet with her UK counterpart and announce how much money will be available in future agriculture support by the date of the Highland Show on 26th June. This has failed to happen.

Cllr McLaren said:  “At their separation summit, the SNP were pushing a divisive nationalist agenda that would build barriers, leave farming communities out in the cold and paralyse many with uncertainty about the future.

“For the agriculture industry, this total disregard can be felt everywhere, from the absence of promised frameworks to a total lack of support as many struggle with the loss of trade routes post Brexit and soaring costs.

“Scottish agriculture deserves so much better.

“Together with my fellow Liberal Democrat colleagues, I will be spending my time, listening to representatives, understanding the challenges they face and working out the best way forward.

“Our party would deliver clarity and support for communities, prioritise food and land and encourage economic investment. Scottish Liberal Democrats are determined to be the voice of rural Scotland, and these proposals will be at the heart of our efforts.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today called for answers on what will happen to the £9 million loaned by the government-backed Scottish National Investment Bank to Circularity Scotland, following the news that the firm has now appointed administrators and teeters on the edge of collapse.

In May 2022, the Scottish National Investment Bank committed £9m to fund the development of Circularity Scotland Limited.

Last week, it was reported that staff were sent home and the company’s board was unable to confirm whether they would be paid for the month or whether they would be able to return to the office.

Mr Rennie said:  “This is an extremely difficult time for Circularity Scotland staff, whose jobs are at stake because our two governments are incapable of working with one another.  

“The £9m loan from the government-backed bank raises serious questions about whether that money would be lost in the event of its collapse, adding taxpayers to the long list of people left out of pocket by the chaos wreaked by the Scottish Government.

“Staff need to know if they will be paid. Taxpayers also need answers on the amount outstanding on the loan and whether any of that debt can be recovered in the event of administration.”

Pictures from the Drymen Agricultural Show

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