In a poll conducted on behalf of BBC Scotland, voters in Scotland
have shown enormous support for Scottish farming by placing it fifth
in a list of important election issues.
Pollsters ICM asked a balanced sample of 1,001 people
in Scotland for their opinions on a list of 25 policy issues. Participants
were asked to score policies from one to 10 - with one meaning
they should not be pursued and 10 giving them ‘top billing’ status.
Average scores were then calculated to give the final result. In
first place was health and schools, followed by police, council
tax, local hospitals, then farming and fishing came in fifth place.
On the back of the poll, NFUS has re-emphasised the priorities within its
own election ‘manifesto’ which stresses the role farming can
play in providing quality, local food, protecting Scotland’s wildlife
and habitats, tackling climate change and underpinning rural communities.
Over three quarters of Scotland’s landmass is farmed and agriculture
contributes £1.8 billion to the nation’s economy.
NFU Scotland Vice-President, Stewart Wood, said:
“These poll results are hugely encouraging. Our relationships with
both politicians and consumers are all about trying to raise awareness of
farming’s potential to contribute to the big issues facing Scotland
over the next four years and beyond. These efforts are clearly paying off.
“We have long believed that public support for all that farming delivers – a
well tended countryside, renewable energy, high animal welfare standards,
superb quality food and much more – was high and it is very encouraging
to see that when push comes to shove, voters are still very much behind
that. We are very grateful for their support.
“Our pre-election manifesto highlighted many of the issues facing
agriculture. There are simple steps that can be taken which will safeguard
the future of agriculture and the rural economy, but will also deliver huge
health and environmental benefits to the nation. Our future MSPs must look
again at the food we feed to our pupils and patients. Public procurement
must stress that best value doesn’t mean cheapest price and put an
emphasis on fresh, local food. Agriculture’s potential to contribute
to the fight against climate change by the development of renewable energy
needs the same financial kick-start that has benefited the industry across
“We await the election on 3 May with interest and look forward to
seeing how the next Scottish Executive and Parliament tackles the challenges
we have set them.”
• Full results of the poll can be viewed on the BBC
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