Commenting on remarks by Jim Paice MP, former UK Minister for Agriculture, regarding the lack of understanding shown by the Westminster government towards agriculture, Scottish MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith said:
"The surprise in Mr Paice's statement is not so much that the UK government does not understand farming - this has been clear for many years now - but rather that a Conservative MP has had the courage to publicly say what we all already know.
"Jim Paice is a farmer and has been involved in legislating on agricultural issues for many years now, and his observations should be respected. However, it is hard to miss the sense of frustration that accompany his comments - the Treasury sets the agenda for farming, and DEFRA merely trots along behind, picking up the pieces.
"These comments underline what I highlighted just last week - the UK government does not have the best interests of agriculture at heart. The reason that the rural development figures for the UK are the lowest in the whole EU are because successive Westminster governments have made no attempt to preserve or protect them. This stands in stark contrast to Richard Lochhead and the Scottish Government who have fought tooth and nail to get Scottish farmers the best deal possible, even with the limited powers we currently have. Scotland can do better with all the powers of an independent nation."
Jim Paice's comments can be seen on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22767470
Alyn's press release on the rural development fund levels can be seen on http://www.alynsmith.eu/alyn_slams_rural_development_funds_distribution