Shetland’s crofters and farmers need stronger support and understanding from a new Scottish government, according to Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott.
Following a meeting with crofters in Unst over the weekend, he said he would be pushing for cuts in agricultural red tape and fairer, targeted support schemes.
Mr Scott said: “Lambing is either here or fast approaching across Shetland. So I want to highlight how important active agriculture is to the Shetland economy and the islands way of life.
“I recently looked around the new abattoir next to the mart at Staneyhill. Shetland produces quality beef and sheep. The industry’s future is in supplying the finished product for local shops, butchers and hotels. That’s why SIC support for the abattoir is a sensible investment for the industry.
“Shetland’s crofters and farmers will continue to export lamb and cattle to the Scottish mainland for finishing. I am pleased that the livestock shipping system is working well, and that costs of shipping are less than before.”
On the subject of government support for agriculture in the isles Mr Scott said he wanted to see the success of the previous Shetland ESA scheme reintroduced.
He said: “The Scottish government’s Rural Development Scheme has been a bureaucratic mess and many Shetland croft and farm businesses haven’t got into it. We need a new scheme that fast tracks smaller applications from crofters while reducing adviser costs and encouraging take-up.”