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Scottish farmers 'would be boosted' by Yes in independence referendum

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 27, 2014

Scottish farmers have been let down by Westminster governments obsessed with the South of England, says Richard Lochhead

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Independence would provide Scotland's rural and farming communities with "incredible opportunities", Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said.

Mr Lochhead said farming had a key role in Scotland's economy, but claimed the sector had been "badly let down by a Westminster establishment that is obsessed with London and the South East".

He spoke out ahead of a meeting with a group of farmers who are still to decide how to vote in the independence referendum on September 18.

Mr Lochhead and South of Scotland MSP Aileen McLeod are to visit a farm in New Luce in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Rural Affairs Secretary claimed being part of the UK left farmers north of the border worse off, stating an independent Scotland would receive vital extra cash from the European Union for rural development.

He said: "Scotland's farmers are at the heart of our rural communities and play a key role in our economy – but for too long our farming industry has been badly let down by a Westminster establishment that is obsessed with London and the South East."

Mr Lochhead argued being in the Union resulted in Scotland losing out "on substantial direct farm payments".

He added: "Westminster simply isn't working for our farming industry. But Scotland's rural economy is incredibly strong – food and drink exports are worth £14 billion and a Yes vote gives us the opportunity to grow this even further, taking advantage of the 50 per cent rise in exports which would stem from the Scottish Government's reindustrialisation plans.

"Farmers and rural communities across Scotland are waking up to the incredible opportunities presented by a Yes vote – and I'm looking forward to discussing the gains of Yes for rural Scotland."

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