Shetland MSP, Tavish Scott, asked the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, in Parliament today how many eligible crofters and farmers had not received any common agricultural policy basic payment by 6 January 2016.
Since June 2014 the Scottish Government has spent £178m putting the new support scheme for farmers in place with payments due to run from December to June. Tavish Scott has previously warned that the new system has only delayed a vital source of income for Scotland’s farmers and that many of them are bracing themselves in the expectation that farm payments will not be distributed before Christmas.
Richard Lochhead said that it was the Government’s intention to pay the first instalment to the majority of farmers and crofters this month, with the final balance to be paid in
April, and the remainder of the first payments would be paid in February and March.
Tavish Scott said in response to Richard Lochhead:
‘‘Does that mean that 80 per cent of Scotland’s farmers and crofters have yet to receive any CAP payments, which the Government promised they would get before
Christmas, even though the Government has spent £178 million on a new computer system?
‘‘How many payment region reviews are still outstanding for Shetland alone? What are the implications for less favoured areas support scheme and ewe and beef scheme payments? Will they be late, too? Does the cabinet secretary understand that farmers and crofters from Shetland to Stranraer are fed up, annoyed and worried about their cash flow because of their need to pay feed bills in the flood-ridden winter that Scotland is enduring?’’