Disappointment for farmers as subsidy delayed
Payment targets missed by Scottish government
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.’