A meagre mention

23 April 1999

A meagre mention

AGRICULTURE merits fewer than 20 lines in Scottish New Labours election manifesto.

The party promises to build a modern, sustainable farming industry able to compete successfully in changing world markets.

The remaining lines are devoted to claims of what the present government has done for Scottish farmers. Providing £470m a year in support, plus extra help with the special difficulties of the past year, making progress in lifting the beef ban, working with the Scottish NFU on Agenda 2000, and helping with product innovation, are listed.

"We are developing a more competitive agriculture based on quality, traceability, and more effective marketing," the manifesto states.

A much larger section on rural areas contains no reference to farming other than a one-line pledge to support sustainable agriculture.

On the environment there is no specific mention but a promise to develop national parks and give new direction to Scottish Natural Heritage.

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