Sunday, 4 September 2016

Tories Can't be Trusted with Rural Scotland's Interests

The SNP has criticised the Tories’ "brass neck", while highlighting why they cannot be trusted to represent Scotland's rural interests, ahead of a summit Ms Leadsom is due to chair on Monday (5 Sept) on the Great British Food campaign.

The Tories have a shameful record in protecting Scotland's rural economy, with damaging actions having been taken across a range of areas that are vital to jobs and growth in Scotland's rural communities. This includes:
  • Failure to guarantee over £350 million of EU funding for farming and fishing, threatening investment and jobs in Scotland’s rural and coastal communities;
  • withdrawal of subsidies for the renewable energy, threatening wind energy projects that would power 1.2 million homes;
  • refusal to pass on £190 million of CAP convergence funds – EU funding Scotland was entitled to receive but which was withheld by Westminster;
  • failure by the UK Government to stop the payment of £1.4 million levy income paid by Scottish livestock producers being spent in England.
Commenting, SNP MP and Environment and Rural Affairs Spokesperson at Westminster, Calum Kerr, said:

"It is blatantly clear that the Tory government has no interest in protecting Scotland's rural communities - their failure to ensure Scotland gets its fair share of EU and other monies shows us exactly that. And their determination to drag Scotland out of the EU against our wishes will only increase the Tory-inflicted damage to our rural communities.

"Their failings are not limited to these areas - with the threats to Fort George and Kinloss, failure to improve grid connections and tackle high transmission charges for Scottish islands, and historic failure to protect Scotland's fishing interests, the list goes on and on.

"Most concerning of all is that one of the most ardent Brexiteers – Andrea Leadsom - has now been appointed as Minister for DEFRA, given her previous desire to remove direct support from farmers.

"In the week when statistics show Scotland’s food and drink sector achieving record growth and success, the Tories have a brass neck putting a Minister in charge of a new Great British Food campaign who only a few short months ago was advocating the replacement of sheep with butterflies on Scotland’s hills.”
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