£25 Million Foot & Mouth Financial Aid

SCOTLAND - Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead has outlined a £25 million aid package to help Scottish farmers and crofters recover from the recent foot and mouth outbreak.
calendar icon 26 October 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

Outbreak has devestated the livestock industry

Mr Lochhead said:

"No-one should underestimate the severe consequences this outbreak in the south of England has had on the entire livestock industry in Scotland.

"The moral and financial responsibility for this clearly lies with the UK Government.

"However, the Scottish Government cannot and will not stand idly by and watch this vital industry go into meltdown.

"This package is not about subsidies. It is targeted at sheep farmers and crofters who, through no fault of their own, have suffered most.

"It balances immediate relief with longer term-term support for the future. Above all, it is what Scotland desperately needs at this time and this is what we will deliver for Scotland."

The main elements of the package are:

  • Payments of £6 a head for breeding ewes. This will cost an estimated £19 million
  • Payments for the emergency welfare scheme already under way and cancellation of the second instalment of sheep dip charges
  • Payments of £200,000 to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institute to help individuals in need of support and £60,000 to the
  • Royal Highland Education Trust to help raise the profile of Scottish food and farming in the wider community
  • Further investment of up to £1 million for enhancing the resilience of the red meat sector in the longer term

Mr Lochhead added:

"The timing of the outbreak could not have been worse, particularly for the sheep sector where normally over a million sheep move from the hills and islands to market and lower ground in September and October.

"To an industry already pressed by higher costs through, for example, grain prices and generally low commodity prices, the impact of the outbreak is pushing many individual farm businesses to the brink of viability.

"Throughout this very difficult period I have been impressed by patience, determination and resilience of all those involved in our livestock industry.

"Today's package addresses specific problems. But clearly there are wider challenges facing farmers, producers and all the other groups involved in bringing food from the farm gate to our plates.

"Agriculture contributes gross output of £1.9 billion to the Scottish economy. Primary production alone accounts for 60,000 jobs and over 60 per cent of agricultural output comes from the livestock sector.

"The Scottish Government will continue to do all it can to support this vital industry.

"We have lived with the dreadful spectre of foot and mouth for nearly three months.

"This package helps the foundations for the future - ensuring that we have sufficient breeding stock for next year's lamb crop and support for a thriving and viable livestock industry across Scotland."

Scottish Ewe Scheme - the sheep sector has been the most severely affected and needs real support to maintain itself into the next breeding season. The Scottish Government will pay £6 a head on breeding ewes and the money should be in the bank account of individual producers by mid November.

Sheep dip disposal - at the direction of Scottish Ministers, SEPA will cancel the second instalment of the disposal to land charge in 2007-2008. This will benefit 1,600 sheep farmers to the extent of £91 each.

Funding for the Sheep Welfare Scheme which started earlier this month, running for ten weeks and involving payments of £15 for light lambs destined for export markets which were closed because of the foot and mouth outbreak.

Marketing and promotion. The Scottish Government has already provided £100,000 to Quality Meat Scotland to support lamb promotion. In the light of recent developments, it will discuss the best way of using an additional £million not only for promotion but also help secure the long term resilience of the red meat sector.

Help for farmers and other members of rural communities who have suffered. The Scottish Government will offer £200,000 to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institute to help individuals in need of personal support. £60,000 will also be made available to the Royal Highland Education Trust to help raise the profile of Scottish food and farming in the wider community.

Crofters have also been affected by this outbreak and the Scottish Government will work with the Scottish Crofting Foundation to consider the practicalities and support that might be provided to help develop a crofting brand.

In addition to this direct support, the First Minister is writing to each of the major food retailers to ask them to support the meat industry by ensuring a fair price is paid to Scottish farmers and highlighting the recent announcement by McDonalds to raise its prices paid to farmers to help support the industry. This initiative builds on earlier work undertaken by the Scottish Government to encourage greater sourcing of Scottish meat by public sector organisations.

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