Alyn Smith MEP, the only Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, has expressed concern at the appointment of Andrea Leadsom as the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs after her arguments that farming “subsidies must be abolished”.
Whilst campaigning to leave she said that payments to farmers could only be guaranteed in the short term “whilst we think about what makes sense”. She has proposed a vague environmental credit scheme and argued that farmers with “big fields do the sheep and those with the hill farms do the butterflies.”
Andrea Leadsom also played a leading role in the ‘fresh start project’ that called for the phasing out of Pillar 1 CAP payments in its 2013 manifesto.
“Andrea Leadsom has a massive job ahead of her. I wish her well, but the evidence so far suggests that she is not going to stand up for Scottish farmers.
“I’m pleased by her calls for imports to meet our animal welfare standards, and her support for country of origin labelling but I have a lot of concerns about how she sees the big picture.
“Farmers were told by many during the EU referendum not to worry about the continuation of CAP subsidies and some hinted they could even be increased, but the reality now hits as the person in charge states she believes that they should be cut.
“Her crass comments about sheep and butterflies imply that she has no real understanding of how Scottish hill farming works or of the combined benefits that can be achieved both in food production and environmental protection.
“Scotland’s farmers deserve better than this.”
Andrea Leadsom’s 2007 blog post discussing farming can be found here.
Andrea Leadsom’s comments on guaranteeing CAP only in the short term can be found here.
The ‘fresh start project’ Manifesto can be found here.