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Agribusiness News June 2024 – Policy Update

31 May 2024

Fair Work First grant conditions

Under the Fair Work conditions introduced by the Scottish Government on the 1st of April 2024, organisations applying for some public sector grants will be required to pay their staff at least the real living wage and also to provide appropriate channels to give workers an effective voice.

While this legal requirement has already been introduced for farmers and crofters applying for grant support under the Crofting Agricultural Grants Scheme (CAGS) and the Forestry Grant Scheme; where funding is allocated, the Fair Work conditionality will be applied from the opening of the next application window for three other schemes:

  • Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS)
  • Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC)
  • Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS)

Businesses intending to apply for any of these five grant schemes should read the Fair Work First guidance if they are awarded a contract for grant support as they will need to comply with the principles of Fair Work First

Antimicrobial Resistance

The Scottish Government is supporting a new UK-wide joint action plan to contain and control resistance to antibiotics.   Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is listed among the World Health Organization’s top global public health threats and arises when organisms that cause infection evolve ways to survive antibiotic treatment.

The 5-year AMR National Action Plan sets out key measures to reduce the threat of infection across human, animal, environment and food sectors from microbes including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. The 2024-2029 Plan has four key themes:

  1. Reducing the need for, and unintentional exposure to, anti-microbials
  2. Optimising the use of antibiotics
  3. Investing in innovation and technology
  4. Being a good global partner.

While the AMR Action Plan covers both people and livestock, two interesting lines of questions included in the research priorities outlined in the plan are:

  • How have reductions in the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals affected antibiotic resistance in people and animals?
  • What are the risks associated with use of antibiotics and antifungals use on crops, particularly in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC), and the ‘downstream’ impact on the environment, humans, and animals?

Going forward, while some of the plan activity will be specifically focused on reducing AMR, other measures will focus on preventative measures including improving animal health or reducing the incidence of infectious diseases.

New Consultation – On Phasing out Cages for Laying Hens

With ~ 1.1 million hens currently being housed in cages in Scotland, the Scottish Government has launched a consultation on phasing out the use of cages to house laying hens for egg production.

Views are being sought on phasing out the use of enriched cages, which offer more room to nest, roost, scratch and rest compared to previously used battery cages.

For a link to the consultation, please click here. The consultation period closes on Tuesday 25th of June 2024.

Visitor Levy Bill Passed

MSPs have backed legislation giving councils a new power to introduce a visitor levy that would raise funding for local visitor facilities and services.  The new Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill will enable local authorities to apply a levy on overnight stays with all money raised to be reinvested in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors.

Councils that want to introduce a visitor levy will be able to do so after they have consulted with local communities, businesses, and tourism organisations.  An 18-month implementation period will then apply before any local authorities

Key Dates

1 June 24June Census 2024 opens online – ends 30 June 2024
10 June 24AECS – application deadline for Organic Conversion and Maintenance. Stand alone application deadline is the 31st of July 2024
10 June 24AECS – application deadline for 2024 Agri-Environment plans
12 June 24Closing date for the Scottish Government Capital Grant Scheme Survey

Christine Beaton,


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