SNP MSP for Clydesdale Aileen Campbell has backed NFU Scotland and NSA Scotland in its comments regarding new Defra Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom.
Concerns have been raised about the appointment, given a history of controversial comments from Ms Leadsom on the rural economy. NSA Development Officer George Milne argued that the new Secretary “clearly does does not understand the importance of sheep production in the hills and uplands, or the fact that sheep production is at the heart of the rural economy.”
NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker has expressed relief that agricultural policy in Scotland is set by Holyrood and not by Defra, adding "I think many Scottish farmers will have more faith that Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing will do a better job of understanding the needs of Scottish farming and delivering a future support system that meets our needs than English farmers will have in Defra supporting them."
Ms Leadsom has previously argued for the Common Agricultural Policy to be made optional and for the farm budget provided by the EU to be cut.
Commenting on the statements, Ms Campbell said:
“I welcome the statements made by NFU and NSA Scotland. The appointment of Andrea Leadsom to Defra has clearly not reassured many working in our rural communities that the UK Tory government has their best interests at heart, and will be particularly worrisome as we head into negotiations for Brexit.
“The Scottish Government has been working hard to help farmers across Scotland. Our farmers have shown great resilience, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that their excellent work is supported”