Midlothian farmers to receive EU funding

Farmers are to benefit from EU convergence funding.
Farmers are to benefit from EU convergence funding.

Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that Midlothian farmers and crofters will benefit from the first instalment of convergence funding.

The funding is the first tranche of an £160 million package the UK government has returned to Scottish farmers after pocketing EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding intended for Scotland since 2014.

The initial £80 million will be distributed to support active farming, with a focus on those who farm in marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas.

SNP MSP Colin Beattie said: “This is money that was hard fought for over many years, and I am delighted for farmers in Midlothian that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland has been returned.

“Scottish farmers have been short-changed by the UK government for years, and the SNP has argued long and hard for that injustice to be addressed.

“This funding will play a vital role in helping us meet our agricultural commitments, and will make a crucial difference to the future viability of Scotland’s farming industry.

“However, Brexit is by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s farming and crofting communities. But this funding will help to provide some security to Midlothian farmers during these uncertain times.

“With future arrangements for agriculture still unclear amidst the turmoil around Brexit, it is absolutely vital that Midlothian agriculture benefits from the EU support to which the sector is entitled, while it still can.

“We now need real commitments over future funding, and an end to the attempted power grab over farming powers that should rightfully be at the Scottish Parliament.”