MSP calls on DEFRA Secretrary to carry out new PM's promise

Mr Stevenson says the new Secretary of State has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong
Mr Stevenson says the new Secretary of State has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to the new DEFRA Secretary Theresa Villiers asking for a timetable for the repayment of the £160million 'stolen' from Scotland’s farmers by the UK Tory Government.

The £160million of convergence funding was allocated by the EU to Scotland but was retained by the Conservative Government and used across the UK instead.

However, new Prime Minister Boris Johnston appeared to give a commitment to “make sure Scotland’s farmers get the support they are owed” at a Conservative Leadership hustings event in last month.

Mr Stevenson has written to Theresa Villiers asking her to make good in the new PM’s pledge and release the money.

Commenting, he said: “Scottish farmers have not forgotten that the UK Tory Government has withheld £160m in funding rightfully due to them. It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the Member State, qualified for this funding.

“The new Secretary of State has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong. New Prime Minister Boris Johnston has given a commitment, which has been welcomed by the NFUS president, so it should be a simple matter of carrying out the will of the PM and paying the money.

“Scottish farmers will be expecting more than warm words from the new Secretary of State. She needs to send a clear signal to Scottish farmers that she understands their distinct challenges and is prepared to pay them what is rightfully theirs.

"In other words, she needs to decide whether she will back Scotland’s farmers, or betray them like her predecessor.”