MSP gives talk in Brechin

20130314- Richard Lochhead @ City Hall. 'Mr Lochhead answers question from the floor. ''Copyright Andy Thompson Photography.'No use without payment.

20130314- Richard Lochhead @ City Hall. 'Mr Lochhead answers question from the floor. ''Copyright Andy Thompson Photography.'No use without payment.

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Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in Scotland, was in Brechin to outline the benefits of independence to local agricultural industries.

The MSP addressed a crowd of around 70 farmers, butchers and other figures involved in agriculture at City Hall on Thursday, March 14.

The event was organised by the Angus North and the Mearns Constituency Association SNP.

Speaking after his talk, Mr Lochhead said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to engage with the farming community and I am delighted that people from across Angus turned out in their numbers.

“The question and answer session was particularly interesting and I am confident that those in attendance will have left with greater clarity over how independence could benefit the sector.

He continued: “Currently, Scottish farmers are treated as a low priority in Europe by a UK Government which makes no effort to understand or promote Scotland’s agricultural needs.

“There are two kinds of payments that flow to Scotland via the EU farming policy. The first involves direct farm payments where Scotland gets the fourth lowest level in Europe under the current policy thanks to previous UK Governments failing Scotland.

“But we would gain hundreds of millions of pounds extra as an independent member state under the current funding formula adopted by Europe as part of the new policy -instead our farmers face losing out yet again.

“And the second funding stream is wider rural development funding for the likes of village halls and environment schemes where Scotland gets the lowest level in the UK and Europe.

“Only Independence gives Scotland a seat at the EU table, allowing us to influence budgets and negotiate on behalf of those who we represent – these are fundamental needs which the Union does not afford us.”