Dis­ap­point­ment for farm­ers as sub­sidy de­layed

Pay­ment tar­gets missed by Scot­tish gov­ern­ment

The Oban Times - - Property / farming -

SCOT­LAND’S farming union has slammed the gov­ern­ment af­ter sub­sidy pay­ment tar­gets were missed.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment an­nounced last week that pay­ments un­der the new ba­sic pay­ment scheme ( BPS) are to be made in two in­stal­ments of 70 per cent and 30 per cent.

Just a quar­ter of Scot­tish farm­ers will, how­ever, re­ceive their fi rst in­stal­ment by the end of De­cem­ber. The ma­jor­ity will re­ceive their 70 per cent part-pay­ment by the end of Jan­uary and some will not re­ceive the fi rst tranche of BPS un­til the end of March.

The bal­ance pay­ment of 30 per cent is to be de­liv­ered to all farm­ers by the end of April, just a few weeks be­fore Scot­land’s farm­ers and crofters will be ex­pected to sub­mit their claim forms for the 2016 scheme.

Mr Lochhead said: ‘This is the fi rst year of the new CAP re­form we are im­ple­ment­ing and it’s the big­gest and most com­plex re­form in a gen­er­a­tion.

‘There can be no doubt the three pay­ment re­gions and cou­pled sup­port schemes re­quested by in­dus­try – as well as the move to area-based pay­ments re­quired by Europe – have greatly added to our enor­mous ad­min­is­tra­tive chal­lenge but the mes­sage I al­ways got was that this is a price worth pay­ing to de­liver a bet­ter pol­icy for Scot­land.

‘My of­fi­cials have been work­ing ex­traor­di­nar­ily hard to get us to this point and con­tinue to work flat out en­sure we can pay as much as pos­si­ble to as many as pos­si­ble as soon as we can.’

NFU Scot­land pres­i­dent Al­lan Bowie said: ‘For some con­sid­er­able time, NFU Scot­land has in­formed the in­dus­try that Scot­land’s tra­di­tional pay­ment timetable would not be met and now the cab­i­net sec­re­tary has come clean on what is likely to be de­liv­ered.

‘NFU Scot­land has been given a clear man­date by its mem­ber­ship that the only ac­cept­able out­come for de­liv­ery of the new BPS was for at least 90 per cent of claimants to re­ceive at least 90 per cent of their fund­ing by mid-Jan­uary 2016. With this an­nounce­ment, we are a long way short of what farm­ers and crofters need and, given the hugely dif­fi­cult year, dis­ap­point­ment in this timetable will be im­mense.

‘Sim­ply point­ing to the com­plex­ity of the scheme as a rea­son for de­lays is a red her­ring. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment made the nec­es­sary pol­icy de­ci­sions 18 months ago. Other parts of the UK and other mem­ber states have coped with new schemes and com­plex­ity but Scot­land’s cho­sen de­liv­ery mech­a­nism has not.’

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