Robust Accounts Allow Union Investment in Staff, Recruitment and Political Engagement

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NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker has stated that a robust set of accounts will allow the Union to drive forward investment in staff, member recruitment and political engagement in these unpredictable times.

Speaking at the Union’s AGM in Glasgow today (8 February), Mr Walker said that Brexit will undoubtedly be the biggest draw on the Union’s resources for the foreseeable future and the Union will continue to adjust and adapt so that it secures the best possible deal for farmers and crofters.

Publication of its annual accounts for 2017 shows a small fall in operating profit, down from £37,335 in 2016 to £32,131 in 2017.  Turnover is up from £2.72 million to £2.85 million - a rise of 4.8 per cent while expenditure, largely driven by the Union’s positive engagement with its membership and stakeholders on the challenge of Brexit, is up from £2.70 million to £2.84 million or 5.0 per cent.

With membership rising in many sections – including crofting and professional membership - subscriptions were up from £2.07 million to £2.12 million, an increase of 2.3 per cent.  The widening range of affinity deals and benefits available exclusively to NFU Scotland members has seen other income jump up from £31,975 to £106,974 in a year.

Mr Walker said: “Financially we are stable and, given the challenges we face, everything we earn we will re-invest back into our lobbying and the service we provide to members.

“To meet our lobbying priorities, we have successfully recruited both an economist and a policy manager specialising in CAP and post-Brexit support schemes, taking our policy team to 11.  They complement a regional manager team of 8.

“At a political level, NFU Scotland’s engagement with MPs and MSPs has never been higher.  This year saw NFU Scotland hold fringe events at the Conservative and SNP party conferences and this spring we plan to attend all the party conferences in Scotland.  Whether it be the changes that will come about from Brexit or any of the other policy issues we are pressing on, we will make sure that the Scottish farming and crofting voice is heard.

“And for the membership, participation in Brexit roadshows and regional meetings means that we are truly representing views from the grassroots up. The solid support of all our members is what enables this Union to represent Scottish agriculture when there are lots of others out there who don’t have farmers’ interests at heart when decisions are being made that will affect their livelihoods.

“In a period of intense change, the links we built up with our members in 2017 were invaluable and we will build on that in the year ahead.

“But to keep up the momentum we have established, we need to grow our membership.  The growth we saw in farming, crofting and professional membership in 2017 must continue in 2018.

“In return, we guarantee that we will be the most effective lobbying body for Scottish farmers and crofters, and also offer members an increasing range of membership benefits and helplines that will truly make a difference to your business.

Our affinity partnerships with vehicle manufacturers, broadband providers, fuel discounts, water and more generated £1.6 million in savings for our members last year and generated £100,000 in income to NFUS.  We will grow that package of money-saving affinity deals in the year ahead, making sure every member gets value to their business from their membership.” 

Notes to Editors

  • The Union’s AGM, conference and council meeting are taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, G2 8DL today (Thursday 8 February) and tomorrow (Friday 9 February 2018).  
  • A photograph of NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker will be available from media@nfus.org.uk after 2pm on Thursday 8 February.
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