Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie starts a two day visit to the Highlands to highlight the crippling effect of Brexit on crofters and the rural economy. On Thursday he will visit the Black Isle Show and on Friday he will meet crofters in the West Highlands.
Mr Rennie believes that the Scottish and UK Governments are conspiring to deliver unending uncertainty for crofters and farmers.
The chaotic Brexit process with the Conservatives and the dithering and delay by the SNP on the future shape of farm subsidies makes the SNP culpable too.
The Scottish Crofting Federation has branded the National Council of Rural Advisors’ consultation on rural development post-Brexit, “shallow and lacking substance”, noting none of the questions it asked invite solutions on the problems Brexit will bring.
Willie Rennie said:
“Scottish crofters have got a rough deal when it comes to Brexit. The farm payments saga isn’t yet sorted and Brexit casts a dark cloud over the future of their enterprises.
“The Scottish Government has buried its head in the sand and expertly avoided preparing for the lasting consequences Brexit will have on the agricultural sector. Crofters say its consultation skirts round the pressing issues.
“All this is leaving crofting communities in a state of unending uncertainty. CAP is not a perfect system but it does take into account the importance of supporting less favoured areas. The Scottish and UK governments must give some solid assurances that small farms and crofts are not being overlooked.
“Brexit will stifle the agricultural sector. Hundreds of tonnes of fruit and vegetables are already rotting in fields because the number of pickers has plummeted. That’s not what people signed up for. That is why Liberal Democrats are committed to giving people a say on the final deal and an opportunity to exit from Brexit. The SNP and Theresa May need to back this.”