MEP Welcomes Announcement On Agriculture Subsidy Appeals Reform

11 September 2007
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead that he has appointed an independent group to review the appeals system for farm subsidies.

Former NFU Scotland President John Kinnaird will head the review team.

The announcement is a direct result of a commitment given by Alex Salmond at a meeting with farmers at last year's New Deer Show that if the SNP won the 2007 election he would reform the appeals system which had been a cause of great concern among the farming community.

The SNP's election manifesto contained the following commitment:

"...we will introduce a truly independent appeals panel in response to the existing system's shortcomings. SEERAD officials should not sit in judgement on decisions made by colleagues".

Speaking today, Mr Smith, who is the only Scottish MEP on the European Parliaments Agriculture Committee said:

"I am delighted by this announcement and particularly pleased that John Kinnaird, with his depth of knowledge of the system and its shortcomings, has agreed to head-up the review.

"This is yet another example of the fresh approach of the new SNP Government and one which I am sure will be welcomed by Scottish farmers.

"It is clear that the SNP is delivering on its manifesto commitments for our agriculture industry as this announcement follows on from the commitment given at the Royal Highland Show to introduce a support scheme for new entrants."