Call for CAP Clarity from Scottish Cabinet Secretary

NFU Scotland is calling for the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing to provide farmers, crofters and the wider rural economy with absolute clarity on when he makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament on CAP payments.

Based on Scottish Government’s official weekly update on payments, the Union estimates that almost £40 million - or approximately nine percent – of funds due to be delivered as part of 2015 CAP schemes still remain outstanding as we enter the second week of September 2016. In addition, NFUS believes there are more than 1,000 businesses yet to receive any BPS payment and hundreds of others still awaiting their balance payments.

Fergus Ewing

Fergus Ewing MSP

Mr Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity is to update the Scottish Parliament on CAP Scheme payments on Tuesday 13 September.

Ahead of the statement, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said:
“It goes without saying that industry had a justifiable expectation that – barring a few difficult cases – the 2015 payment debacle would finally have been concluded, all 2015 scheme payments would have been delivered to eligible farm businesses by this date and the plans for the 2016 payment run would be well in hand.

“Regrettably, the Scottish industry remains some considerable distance from this being delivered. By our estimate, around nine percent of 2015 scheme monies remain outstanding; the rural economy is missing close to £40 million. Too many are still waiting for part or even all of their payment under different schemes. Given that it is more than a year since they applied for this vital support, that is unacceptable.

“National pots of funding put in place by Scottish Government in the spring went some considerable way to filling the huge gap that the flawed IT delivery system had opened up in the rural economy.

“These national schemes delivered the majority of funds to the majority of claimants but there are still a significant number of people waiting on the bulk of their support and all claimants are desperate to see the troubled 2015 payment run concluded. We are looking for the Cabinet Secretary’s update to provide that clarity and also deliver a clear delivery timetable for 2016 payments so that farmers, crofters and the supply trade can plan ahead.

“We have absolutely no confidence that the flawed IT system, installed at a cost of £180 million, will deliver the bulk of 2016 basic payments and greening money to farmers in December, as happened under previous schemes.

“In order that the rural economy does not grind to a halt again, we need the Cabinet Secretary to give further consideration to repeating the national payment scheme. We need to be on the front foot and a national payment pot would allow Scottish Government to provide all claimants with a proportion of the money that they would receive were their claims to be properly processed and delivered on time.

“Once a clear timetable has been set, Scottish Government must be more open with the industry and let it know if it is on track. Too many farmers and crofters are fed up with excuses that IT problems are the reason for the delay. What they deserve is accurate information on what is being done and when it will be fixed.

“The whole rural economy suffered from the delay in payments last spring. This simply must not happen again.”


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