NFUS has expressed disappointment that around £60 million
in support payments has still not been issued to Scottish farmers.
However, following discussions, NFUS has secured a commitment
that, by the end of May, all farmers whose applications have
been cleared will receive their payments.
The latest figures from the Executive show that around £410
million has been paid to Scottish farmers under the Single Farm
Payment Scheme, Scottish Beef Calf Scheme, National Reserve and
Less Favoured Area Support Scheme. However, approximately £60
million remains outstanding.
The Executive has stressed that there are a small number of cases
where errors and simple mistakes may result in a delay beyond the
end of May. NFUS is continuing to press the Executive to work with
urgency to tackle these cases.
NFUS President John Kinnaird said:
“We are over five months on from the opening of the SFP
payment window, yet far too many farmers are still waiting for
support payments. We have been in close discussions with officials
and the Minister stressing the problems caused by delayed payments.
“I acknowledge the new system has presented significant
challenges to the Department, but they are nothing compared to
the challenges facing farmers who are still hanging on for payments.
“Cross-border farms in particular have had their problems
exacerbated by the RPA debacle. Also, farmers who have been picked
at random for Scottish Executive inspections have had their payments
held up, even if no problems have arisen during checks which is
not an acceptable situation.
“We have been promised that outstanding payments, cleared
for release, will be paid by the end of the May. The exceptions
will be where there are individual circumstances which require
clarification of some kind. For example, there are 380 cases under
the Beef Calf Scheme with problems. These kinds of cases must be
treated as a matter of urgency by the Executive, which must work
at top speed to clear these cases.
“It is important that lessons are learned for the future.
The Executive has generally performed better than the RPA. Although,
the RPA certainly shouldn’t be the benchmark for performance.
I welcome the open dialogue we have had with officials and their
commitment not only on outstanding payments but on reviewing this
year’s payment system and making improvements for the future.”
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