EU Back SNP Calls For Financial Support For Young Farmers

24 November 2006
Plans by the SNP to provide financial assistance to encourage young farmers into the industry have been supported by the European Commission.

The Commission told SNP MEP Alyn Smith that it has reinforced the establishment of support measures for young farmers by member states and confirmed that the UK is one of only 8 EU countries not to support young farmers.

Speaking on the issue Mr Smith said,

"With the number of young farmers entering the Scottish industry falling and half of current farmers looking to retire in the next decade it's essential we take action now to give the sector a future.

"Although there are schemes in place to encourage young people into farming and for training there is currently no financial incentive.

"The SNP is committed to introducing a scheme similar to that in Northern Ireland which allows interest rate support. 600 new entrants are expected in the Northern Irish industry as a result.

"A great deal of attention has been paid to diversifying the economies of our rural areas and that is right but it's also essential that our traditional industries are allowed to flourish.

"It's time to give Scottish farming a future. By adopting this policy the SNP are the only party ready and willing to do this."

Notes to Editors

Earlier this year party leader Alex Salmond committed an SNP government to setting up a support scheme for young farmers. This is based on a scheme in Northern Ireland which offers support with interest rate payments and is expected to see 600 new entrants into the industry.

Full Text Of Parliamentary Question (PDF Version - 25KB)

Full Text Of Parliamentary Answer (PDF Version - 39KB)