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Scotland Eyes Changing Shape of CAP Health Check

23 June 2008

SCOTLAND, UK - The National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) is going out to meet its members to discuss the European proposals for reviewing how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will operate between now and 2013. The release of the CAP Health Check is the start of a European-wide debate in which they say 'Scotland’s voice must be heard'.

NFUS has broadly welcomed the CAP Health Check proposals but the discussion on certain key issues for Scotland is about to heat up. In the next few weeks, the Union will go out to its membership as it formulates its response. NFUS will also take the opportunity to look at what shape the CAP should take beyond 2013.

This will allow NFU Scotland to discuss its emerging position on the CAP with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel, when she comes to Scotland in Mid-July.


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"There are certain things within the health check debate that we need to nail down."
NFUS President Jim McLaren

Speaking at the Highland Show, NFUS President Jim McLaren said:

“There are certain things within the health check debate that we need to nail down. There is an expectation that some articles within the Health Check will be the routes to addressing the sustainability of livestock production within our more fragile areas.

“We are patently aware of the issue that in some parts of Scotland, the loss of sheep and cattle numbers is undermining the social, economic and environmental benefits that livestock farming delivers in these parts. The existing Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS), which already delivers a coupled payment per beef calf born, has not stemmed that decline.

“The Scottish Government’s own review of the SBCS is underway. We have always had reservations about how effective a scheme it would be and that opinion has not changed. With our members, we need to decide if there are better options to sustain cows and sheep in fragile areas or if the recoupling elements discussed in the Health Check proposals should be used. If the SBCS is to be retained and strengthened, then we already know that we need to alter the terms of the Health Check proposal as at present they would only allow for half of what is currently spent on the SBCS to be spent in the future.

“Other aspects of the Health Check proposals are less contentious. We have accepted the timetable for the removal of the milk quota regime by 2015 and we support the proposal for the removal of set aside. These are production shackles introduced at a time when production curbs were required and are no longer relevant in the current agricultural climate."

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