LAMBASTING the UK Government’s 'historic failure' to take food security seriously, Stirling MP Alyn Smith has urged it to go 'further and faster' to support Scotland’s farmers.

The SNP's Mr Smith said that the agricultural sector was facing its most serious crisis in decades, as a perfect storm of Brexit, inflation and the war in Ukraine had led to 'skyrocketing costs' threatening many farmers' livelihoods.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Smith, referred to an article he had written in The Scottish Farmer more than a decade ago, where he noted that the UK Government had been 'far too complacent about the security and stability of our food supplies', and noted that 10 years on 'the lessons remain largely unlearned'.

"UK trade policy always puts the interests of farmers first – it’s just a shame that its farmers in other countries rather than our own," said Mr Smith.

Calling for significant government support to help UK farmers get through the current crisis, he suggested cutting red diesel duty to zero, an urgent review of immigration policy to facilitate labour supply, as well as government loans for the sector.

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“I believe food security should be viewed in the same breath as our national security. Anything that undermines food production should be viewed with extreme scepticism, however well intentioned. Food production must be the basis of the rural economy," he insisted.

“The sector was already reeling from Brexit and Covid and now the dreadful events in Ukraine have every single light on farming’s dashboards flashing red. The input costs for feed have gone up and supplies have become more difficult. Fuel costs, red diesel and gas are all going up. Fertiliser costs are rocketing. Labour shortages are real."

He added: “The EU has just in the last couple of weeks announced a €1.5 billion Support Fund for farmers. The UK really needs to match that urgency and priority. I would urge the government to consider loan guarantees along the lines of the Covid support for agricultural businesses who are facing a short term, hopefully, crisis in their cash flow."