Chance for NFU members to grill candidates

NFU Scotland has organised a hustings event on April 26 in Forfar's Reid Hall.

NFU Scotland has organised a hustings event on April 26 in Forfar's Reid Hall.

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A hustings event has been organised by NFU Scotland to provide a platform for debate and to allow its members to make informed decision before the Scottish Parliament election on May 5.

The event in Forfar’s Reid Hall, on Thursday, April 26 at 7.30pm, will be open to all NFU Scotland members in the Angus South and Angus North and Mearns areas.

It is one of 12 being held across the country to allow members to engage with candidates from all the main Scottish parties standing in the region.

Agriculture, rural affairs, food and environment policy is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the union is encouraging its members to take the time to meet and put questions to the candidates vying for their vote.

NFU Scotland formally launched its manifesto at the start of April, detailing key policy areas it wishes to see Scottish parliamentarians address in the new parliament. These include a support system fit for the future, land reform and biodiversity, making the food chain work, sharing in the success of Scotland’s good food story, supporting crofting and assistance in managing costs.

Euan Walker-Munro, NFU Scotland’s Angus branch chairman, said: “This election comes at an unprecedented time for farmers in Angus. Global forces added to the well-versed problems concerning delivery of support payments have combined to create a perfect storm.

“That was the key message that politicians took away from NFU Scotland’s rally at the Scottish Parliament in March, where a significant number of farmers and businesses from the region were represented. Now is the time for us to ask our politicians whether they can step up to the plate and fight for farming and the food and drink sector within the sea of other voices.”

Mr Walker-Munro, who will chair the event, also said that rural affairs and agricultural policy have become ingrained in Scottish political life since devolution 17 years ago.

He added: “We have enjoyed a good working relationship with our MSPs across the political spectrum, regularly hosting well-established meetings across the region.

“We look forward to continuing this close and very positive engagement in the new parliament, and to welcoming the candidates fighting for a seat at Holyrood at this event so they can inform the members of their plans to take forward the interests of the area and the rest of rural Scotland.”