The Scottish National Party has received a boost ahead of  Thursday’s Scottish Parliamentary election with the public backing of the last two presidents of NFU Scotland.

The endorsement from John Kinnaird, who stood down as president in February, and his predecessor, Jim Walker, could be crucial in swinging the rural vote to the nationalist party.

SNP is leading in the polls and is expected to unseat Labour to lead a coalition administration in the next Parliament.

“An SNP victory on 3 May will be good news for Scotland’s farmers and rural communities,” said Mr Kinnaird. “When Scotland’s farmers succeed, Scotland succeeds.”


Mr Walker also welcomed the SNP’s commitment to farming and the wider rural community.

“Their ideas are refreshing and should help create a platform for a positive future for rural Scotland,” said Mr Walker.

Launching the SNP’s Manifesto for Farming last Wednesday, the party’s rural affairs spokesman, Richard Lochhead, who is expected to become rural affairs minister in the new Parliament, pledged to forge a partnership with farmers to “meet the challenges and grasp the opportunities” which lie ahead.

“After eight years of low ambition, it’s time for fresh thinking and a new approach,” he said. “A successful rural economy needs successful agriculture.”

Promises made by SNP include a £10m loan interest initiative for new entrants, the slashing of red tape and bureaucracy (including the merger of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage), reduced penalties for errors in form-filling and action to redress the imbalance of power between supermarkets and primary producers.