Donald Cameron MSP (Highlands and Islands – Scottish Conservative), Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said in response to a statement from rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon on sheep farming today (Tuesday 14th May), that farmers must be part of the solution to tackling environmental challenges.
He said: “Farmers and crofters understand better than anyone else the importance of farming in an environmental and efficient manner. We believe that a long-term transition must be undertaken in a way which is fair and just, with farmers seen as the solution not the problem.
Mr Cameron told the minister that her statement casting doubt on the UK Government’s commitment to the sector “flies in the face” of the support given by UK Secretary of State Michael Gove.
He added: “Given the Scottish Government’s CAP payment fiasco and the cuts to LFASS which it continues to administer, it is rank hypocrisy to accuse others of failing to support sheep farming.”
Speaking outside the chamber after the debate, Mr Cameron said: “Unfortunately whenever SNP ministers come into the chamber to account for their policies and performance it invariably degenerates into a rant about the UK Government.
“Instead of taking responsibility and exercising the powers that she has, Mairi Gougeon focussed her attention on Brexit. She should of course be turning her attention to ensuring that Scottish farmers and crofters get the support they need from her own government.
“Questions remain unanswered about how the SNP’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2045 will impact on the sector. She needs to start providing some answers. We need assurances that our sheep farmers are not regarded as expendable.”