SNP accused of disregard for Scots dairy industry

TWO RURAL Conservative MSPs have expressed their anger at the lack of support to dairy farmers over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rachael Hamilton MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Tourism, and Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, in response to a parliamentary answer, have criticised the decision by the Scottish Government not to offer support similar to England and Wales.

 

Oliver Mundell leads Ayrshire Cow at Agricultural Show

English and Welsh dairy farmers are now eligible for funding, but not those north of the border.  

Under those funds, eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70 per cent of their lost income during April and May to ensure they can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impact on animal welfare.

In a response to Mr Mundell’s written question, Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing said that the Scottish dairy industry ‘continues to be less affected than other parts of the UK’ yet did not go as far as offering support to those affected.

The Scottish Conservatives launched policy proposals several weeks ago highlighting the need for bespoke dairy support for an industry which has been affected by the downturn of the hospitality industry.

Both MSPs believe that it is particularly unfair for Scottish dairy farmers close to the border who send milk south for processing.

Rachael Hamilton has written to the Cabinet Secretary calling for answers as to why the Scottish dairy industry has been let down.

She said: “This is simply unacceptable, I have asked the Cabinet Secretary on multiple occasions to support the dairy industry and he has decided to turn his back on them.

“Fergus Ewing admitted a number of dairy farmers in Scotland have been affected, yet he chooses not to implement a dairy hardship fund like other parts of the UK.

“We need clarity from the SNP why they have decided not to pursue this route, as dairy farmers will be deeply concerned at this decision”.

Oliver Mundell said: “Dumfriesshire dairy farmers who have been affected by the downturn in the dairy industry will be frustrated at this decision.

“During these challenging times, we need the Scottish Government to support our dairy farmers with a hardship fund.

“We now have a situation where England and Wales have a fund, yet the SNP are letting down the Scottish farmers, with Scotland missing out.”