16 June 1998
Lyon produces Scottish survival plan
SCOTTISH National Farmers Union president George Lyon yesterday (Monday) produced an action list for the Government which he said had to be implemented to ensure the survival of Scottish rural life.
This included getting the beef export ban lifted, agri-monetary compensation from Brussels, weaker Sterling, cutting interest rates and joining the European Monetary Union (EMU).
Evidence of the devastation suffered in the farming industry was presented at a press conference at the unions headquarters, at Ingliston, Edinburgh, yesterday.
Backed by two surveys from more than 1,100 farmers, Mr Lyon said the surveys show where jobs have been lost and where the suffering is greatest. Farmers incomes have halved in the past two years due to the beef ban and the strength of Sterling. The union is leading a campaign to “Keep Scotland Farming”.
Journalists heard how three livestock feed mills and six depots have closed in Scotland in the past 18 months with the loss of 104 jobs. Tractor sales had declined 50% and two-thirds of the countrys farm machinery dealers had made staff redundant.
Auctioneers commission, paid by farmers as a percentage of the value of animals sold, was down 12% last year and a further 30% so far this year. Some 36 haulage firms had gone out of business in the past 13 months – 25 of these had some agricultural work and seven were specialist livestock hauliers.
Columnist Fordyce Maxwell explains in The Scotsman why farmers leaders are so desperate for the UK to join the EMU.
- The Scotsman 16/06/98 page 6, page 28