Jobs threat at farm wildlife group

Cash-strapped bosses at Scotland’s Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) are to decide whether to call in the administrators.

Some 33 employees at the group – which advises farmers on environmental schemes – will learn later this week whether they will lose their jobs.

The crisis comes after the government-funded group saw its £340,000 annual budget slashed to £240,000 halfway through the financial year.

FWAG Scotland chief executive Steve Hunt said the budget cut had put jobs at risk and jeopardised important environmental work.

“We have been operating for 25 years in Scotland and it will have an impact,” Mr Hunt told Farmers Weekly.

“The environment is integral to the farm business and you will be losing an organisation that imparts impartial environmental advice to farmers.”

A survival package will be put to staff on Wednesday (14 January), but it remains to be seen whether employees will support the measures.

One option is to establish a new commercial structure to stabilise the organisation so advice can still be delivered to farmers throughout Scotland.

“How we will move forward will be a joint decision,” said Mr Hunt.

Scottish Lib Dem rural affairs spokesman Jim Hume has called on Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead to step in and save the group.

There were only “a matter of days” to save FWAG, said Mr Hume. Failure to act would see the administrators called in, he warned.

“The Scottish government’s funding fiasco is now spreading like wild fire,” Mr Hume said.

He added: “Funding cuts to date mean that FWAG is one nail in the coffin away from dead.”


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