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WITH AVERAGE farm incomes falling and lingering concerns over the delivery of agricultural support, cashflows were top of the agenda when NFU Scotland met with The Committee of Scottish Bankers at the Rural Centre, near Edinburgh, last week.

The union's presidential team of Andrew McCornick, Martin Kennedy and Gary Mitchell, accompanied by director of policy Jonnie Hall, met with a banking delegation which included Sandy Hay of Bank of Scotland, Brian Murphy of RBS, Alex Young of the Clydesdale, Neil Wilson of HSBC, Wilma Low of TSB and Michael Downey of the CSCB.

After the meeting, Mr McCornick said: “All connected to Scottish agriculture are alive to the challenges and uncertainties facing the industry – both currently and in the months and years ahead.

“Higher costs, volatile commodity prices and support payments delays are creating cashflow problems and a greater reliance on a host of creditors to help farmers and crofters through difficult times. These uncertainties have a clear impact on confidence and farm businesses planning.

“The need for clarity and certainty going forward, specifically in the context of Brexit, is crucial as it will allow businesses to work with the banking sector to plan ahead," he said. “There was an agreement round the table that change is inevitable, but for all businesses, there is recognition that change must be managed.

“Overall, this was a very useful and constructive meeting with the industry’s main banking providers, and there was a willingness to work together to secure a more profitable future for farmers and crofters.”