04 November 1998
Scottish crofters call for Government help

BELEAUGUERED Scottish crofters have called on the Government to intervene and help in the sheep market.

John MacKintosh, president of the Scottish Crofters Union, has written to Scottish secretary, Donald Dewar, saying that the market for lambs and cast ewes is severely depressed.

Conditions appeared to be getting worse with many batches of cast ewes passing through markets without attracting a single bid, said Mr MacKintosh.

The market has failed to respond to a Government assisted storage schemes for surplus sheepmeat.

Many crofts now face the additional burden of retaining livestock at a time when winter feed was difficult to obtain, Mr MacKintosh added.

The situation had gone beyond normal economic principles, he said.

“It is beyond the ability of individual crofters and farmers to rectify the situation in which they now find themselves.

“We recommend some means to remove surplus stock from the marketing system.”

  • Scottish agriculture minister Lord Sewel is to meet representatives of the National Farmers Union of Scotland later this week. It is hoped that bringing forward subsidy payments will ease the cashflow problems facing farmers.
    • The Herald 04/11/98 page 26