Local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has this week suggested that Scotland’s rural communities stand to benefit in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.
Dr Whiteford suggests that, as an independent nation, Scotland could have received €3.5 billion in additional European funding at the last CAP negotiations, similar to the deal negotiated for Irish farmers.
She commented: “Had Scotland been independent during the last CAP negotiations, we would have been entitled to an extra €1 billion support for our farming sector – because of a minimum level of funding guaranteed to each Member State.
“Had our representatives been able to negotiate a deal anywhere close to the one Irish farmers received, we could have secured an additional €2.5 billion in rural development funding between 2014 and 2020 – five times the €0.5 billion the UK Government secured on our behalf.”
MEP Alyn Smith agreed, saying: said: “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of farming to the national economy. Agricultural holdings account for the employment of around 68,400 people in Scotland, across 52,600 holdings. As well as the direct employment provided by agriculture, the sector underpins Scotland’s booming food and drink export market, which is worth almost £2 billion in retail sales and has grown by 36% in seven years.
Banff and Buchan farmers have been invited to meet with Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP and Alyn Smith MEP at a special event at the Ritchie Hall, Strichen on July 30.