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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
13 January
Hudghton backs council concerns over cap reforms

SNP Member of the European Parliament, Ian Hudghton, is lending his backing to concerns voiced by Orkney Islands Council in their submission to the Scottish Executive over the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy. The MEP who has for some time voiced his concerns over the impact generally of agricultural reforms in areas like Orkney says that policies must not be designed to favour only larger and more accessible farms at the expense of smaller and more remote units.  Speaking from Strasbourg today, Mr Hudghton, who has been lobbied recently by island farmers over the changes said:

“Potential damage to the Orkney economy owing to changes in the way agricultural subsidies are paid is significant. Loss of income means farmers and their families have less to put into the local economy with a detrimental spin-off on shops and other businesses too and a knock-on effect on local services. In an area already struggling against the storms of depopulation, we all need to be doing all we can to sustain the local economy of the islands. I have, in the past, raised similar concerns with SEERAD during proposed changes to the LFA support scheme and can foresee similar hazards ahead now if Orkney Islands Council’s submission is not granted with the serious consideration it deserves.

“Future viability of farming in areas like Orkney depends on a fair and just system of subsidy payment and it cannot just be taken as read that one solution fits all in a country as large and diverse as Scotland. We must keep putting these arguments firmly to the Agriculture Minister in Edinburgh so that the special conditions typical to Orkney and the other remote and “fragile” communities in Scotland are recognised. My Highlands and Island’s MSP colleague, Rob Gibson, will continue to raise these issues in the Scottish Parliament so that the best deal for Orkney can be achieved.”

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