Government U-turns on bull hire scheme

The Scottish government has decided to continue the bull hire scheme after widespread protests from the agricultural community and opposition parties.

Rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead has offered to retain the current procedure for another year while work is done to secure a continuing scheme which meets crofters’ needs and aspirations.

A group of Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, who organised a petition which got over 400 crofters’ signatures, said they were delighted with the progress now made.

Labour rural affairs spokeswoman Rhoda Grant said: “It was perfectly evident that the government just got this hopelessly wrong. I don’t want to dwell on their U-turn, I want to welcome it.

“We will continue to argue that the continuing scheme needs to meet the needs of crofters and provide for continuing hire of bulls, collective purchasing and distribution arrangements, over wintering and health facilities. Nothing less will do, but how exactly that is organised is a matter for further work with stakeholders.”


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