NFUS urges govern­ment to set timetable for CAP pay­ments

The Oban Times - - Farming -

FARM­ERS need a clear timetable for pay­ments to plan their cash­flows next year, a Scot­tish union has told Holy­rood, af­ter IT prob­lems again be­set CAP ap­pli­ca­tions.

Ap­pli­ca­tions have de­clined since last year, an­nounced the cabi­net sec­re­tary for ru­ral econ­omy, Fer­gus Ewing MSP. ‘So far we have re­ceived a pro­vi­sional to­tal of 19,862 ap­pli­ca­tions for 2017 CAP pay­ments be­fore the dead­line,’ he said.

‘We have had an in­crease in on­line ap­pli­ca­tions. We have been in­vest­ing in im­prov­ing the sys­tem and fig­ures show it was avail­able for 98 per cent of the ap­pli­ca­tion win­dow.

‘There has been a slight over­all de­crease in ap­pli­ca­tions, con­tin­u­ing the trend in re­cent years. We be­lieve this may be a com­bi­na­tion of changes to eli­gi­bil­ity and some in­di­vid­u­als with a very small pay­ment de­cid­ing not to ap­ply.

‘For those who wish to make an ap­pli­ca­tion but have not met the dead­line, it is still pos­si­ble to sub­mit a claim, which will be sub­ject to a mod­est penalty re­duc­tion.

‘I can as­sure farm­ers and crofters that we con­tinue to work on the ap­pli­ca­tion site to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to sub­mit your SAF on­line.’

NFU Scot­land pres­i­dent An­drew McCor­nick said: ‘It is en­cour­ag­ing so many Scot­tish farm­ers and crofters have suc­cess­fully met the SAF 2017 dead­line of May 15. Due to IT prob­lems, dead­line ex­ten­sions were nec­es­sary in both 2015 and 2016, but the im­prove­ment in the ap­pli­ca­tion process is wel­come.

‘With the May 15 dead­line met and the ap­pli­ca­tion process a month ahead of where we were last year and the year be­fore, we want the Scot­tish Govern­ment to build on that mo­men­tum and quickly is­sue a clear and ac­cu­rate pay­ments timetable to farm­ers and crofters to al­low them to plan their ex­pected cash­flows in the year ahead.’

Fer­gus Ewing.

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