Tuesday, 10 August 2010

George Lyon doing his bit in Brussels

Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon has really hit the ground running in his new role since being elected to the European parliament in 2009. His regular Press Releases have been down-to-earth and to the point, he has completely eclipsed other Scottish MEPs such as Conservative Struan Stevenson and Nationalist Alyn Smith in representing the Scottish rural community, and he is driving proposals for transforming the CAP post 2013, arguing for a retention of the current budget and giving farming equal priority to rural development and the environment. His latest policy paper received almost unamimous support. In Westminster, our coalition partners have Caroline Spelman and ex-farmer Jim paice in key roles, and they are much more sympathetic and knowledgeable about rural issues than the Labour party were. Acheiving a good outcome for our local communities requires good representation at European, Westminster and Holyrood levels......if we can acheive some changes at Holyrood in 2011 then we should have a good overall team.
Well done George!!!
Here is the text of George Lyon's most recent Press release, being typcally direct in dealing with priority issues and sweeping away problems created by the previous admnistration at Westminster:
"George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has written to Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, calling on the Coalition Government to dump the previous Labour Government’s plans which would have destroyed much of UK agriculture, had it been implemented.
Labour’s “Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy”, published in 2005, called for the abolition of direct farm support under Pillar 1 and the slashing of import tariffs. Instead Labour’s ‘vision’ focused its measures on environmental and rural development, at the expense of agriculture.
Two independent reports were carried out for DEFRA, analysing the impact of such proposals. The reports clarify the extent of such damaging plans. The FAPRI report predicted nearly a third of beef and sheep numbers in Scotland would be lost and returns declining by 20%. The second report by Dutch researchers painted an even bleaker picture with 75% of UK livestock farms and nearly 60% of all UK farming businesses being unable to make a living if these plans went ahead.
Commenting, Mr Lyon said:
“I’m calling on the UK coalition Government to dump Labour’s ‘vision’ for the CAP. If Labour’s proposals had ever been implemented, farm businesses across the UK would have faced a very bleak future with many forced to quit.
The impact on Scotland would be even more pronounced as livestock farming accounts for a greater share of our agricultural output.
It is time for a new beginning and a fresh start in this new coalition Government’s approach to farming and there is a desperate need to go back to the drawing board and draw up new plans for a sustainable future for UK and Scottish farming.”

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