Crofters protest as Scottish Government overlooks need for change.
Responding to the announcement that crofting legislation is unlikely to proceed through parliament in this session, Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) says it has taken this as a clear indication that crofting does not rank high on the government’s agenda.
“It came as a disappointment to see that crofting legislation did not appear on the Scottish Government’s ‘Programme for Government’ for this year“, said Yvonne White, chair of SCF.
“But the announcement by Fergus Ewing that it is unlikely to proceed through parliament at all this session is shocking. Mr Ewing gave the clear commitment on many occasions that the first phase of the legislation, the really important stuff that effects crofters’ day to day lives, would be dealt with in this parliamentary session.
"Stakeholders and Scottish government officials have committed a massive amount of resources over many years to get to the point that a Bill is almost ready to proceed,” Ms White went on.
“Opposition parties have been kept on-board and consensus sought, with the intention that the bill should progress relatively unhindered. Yet now we are told that this may have all been in vain, that other legislation takes precedence over crofting."
Ms White added, “We understand that the Brexit shenanigans will be adding a huge amount to government work-load and that this is not the making of the Scottish Government.
"But we would suggest that despite Brexit-related legislation having to be worked on, many other pieces of legislation are in the pipeline and will proceed through parliament.
"A decision had to made by Scottish Government which to give the higher priority to, and yet again it was not crofters and crofting."