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SAMW demand action on ‘minimum 10%’ livestock support

Scotland’s meat industry is operating fully 20% below capacity, a fact which is putting jobs and businesses at risk and leaving significant national income potential untapped says Alan McNaughton, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW).

“At present our member businesses are providing direct employment for over 4000 people and generating a national income in excess of £1 billion a year,” he said at the 2012 Royal Highland Show. “With the right incentives for producers, the right backing from the Scottish Government and the right conclusion to CAP reform, our industry could be pumping closer to £1.25 billion into the Scottish economy, boosting jobs and export earnings in the process.

“As an industry, we have the capacity to become a much bigger player in the international meat market than is being achieved today. Unfortunately, lack of cattle, 20% less than we need, and sheep, 30% below requirement, is holding us back and damaging our ability to deliver a much-needed boost to the Scottish economy.

“We hear an awful lot about Scotland’s energy potential and see vast sums of money being invested in an attempt to secure benefits in 2020, 2030 and beyond. At the same time, we hear far too little about the here and now realities of Scotland’s beef and lamb outputs. By all means invest in the energy future of Scotland but don’t overlook what we already have, and have had, for as long as any of us can remember, namely a world-renowned reputation for quality meat which buyers everywhere are eager to obtain, provided we can deliver.

“Our plea today is for the Scottish Government to stand tall in London and Brussels and demand an increase in coupled calf scheme support to a minimum 10% of the available national budget. Let me stress the ‘minimum 10%’ a little more. We’ve all talked long and hard about getting to 10% support as a wonderful and triumphant goal when, in reality, it’s the minimum we need to keep our combined £1 billion industry and 4000 jobs intact.

“This is the message we will shortly be pressing UK Government Ministers to address with increasing urgency. It is vital that we secure Scotland’s needs in the forthcoming CAP reform with anything less than 10% likely to leave us with a serious decline in both business structure and jobs.

“Give us a minimum 10% however and a fresh window of opportunity will open for the whole Scottish meat chain.”