Independence may be a good thing for Scots farm industry

by 5m Editor
22 January 2007, at 11:24am

SCOTLAND - There were few surprises in last week's annual Lloyds TSB Scotland survey into the attitudes and experiences of farmers.

Most sectors of the industry, apart from those who are still milking cows, are enjoying improved returns, but profitability still remains low in historical terms. However, there is currently a mood of cautious optimism that has been absent for many years and this is being reflected in terms of capital investment in new machinery and buildings.

What did come as a surprise is the growing support for devolution. The latest figures reveal that 65 per cent of Scottish farmers now believe that their industry is benefiting from devolution, which is in marked contrast to the 29 per cent who held that opinion back in 2003. The politicians in Holyrood will like that.

But there can be no arguing with the assertion that Scottish agriculture is in a much healthier state than the industry south of the Border. For a start, when the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy were implemented two years ago, Scotland adopted a different approach from England, as indeed did both Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Scottish approach is simplistic in that the single farm payment is calculated on an historical basis, whereas the English version is complicated and bureaucratic in the extreme. Scotland's farmers have now mostly received their second single farm payment while their counterparts in England will have many months to wait.

Source: The Scotsman

5m Editor