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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5O-00308: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 2 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to protect employment in the agricultural sector.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 9 November 2016

We are acting decisively to protect employment in the agricultural sector. We have put in place the 2016 CAP Basic Payment loan scheme to pump up to £300 million into farm businesses and indirectly, the wider rural economy this winter. When I launched this scheme I made clear my desire to see businesses use this funding to settle accounts, buy essential resources and plan investments, all of which will help to keep people in work right across the farming and food sectors.

We have announced that we will pass on in full to Scottish farmers and crofters and also Scottish stakeholders all of the funding guaranteed by the UK Government for projects and investment entered into before the UK leaves the EU.

This is on top of significant existing investment in excess of £16 million this year to develop agricultural businesses through a diverse range of support measures including advice, start-up, skills, training and innovation.

We are doing everything we can in this Government to provide clarity and certainty to protect jobs not just in the agricultural sector, but right across the rural economy. Work that has been made necessary and urgent by the UK Government planning in proposing to drag Scotland out of the EU against the democratic will of the Scottish people, out of the single market, putting at risk tens of thousands of livelihoods and jobs in the rural economy, including those of EU nationals who fulfil essential roles right across this country on farms and in food processing.