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    Commitment Secured On Farmers' Payments
18/05/06

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.

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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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National Farmers' Union
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