NFU Scotland shows 33% farmers and crofters still waiting for EU farm payments as of last week

Figures provided by NFU Scotland have shown that almost a third of Scotland’s farmers and crofters were still , last week, waiting for their EU farm payments – due to be paid by the Scottish Govenment’s Rural Affairs department in December 2015.

This inexcusable  situation has persisted, despite a Scottish Government pledge to take swift action to address the problem – although that pledge to use government money after 1st April 2016 was, as For Argyll demonstrated, presented in a way that made it seem substantially more prompt and responsible than was the case.

Rural businesses and families have been starved of hundreds of millions in pounds due to delays in processing the EU funding, following the continung failure of a new £200 million software system – commissioned by Rural Affairs and supposed to process the CAP payment applications.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson met some of the affected farmers in Aberdeenshire today to discuss the ongoing issues that many producers are facing due to the SNP’s inept management of the crisis.

It took the threat of a mass protest by farmers at Holyrood, warnings of a ‘cash crisis’ in the sector and in its supply chain – and a call for a full independent inquiry – to force the Scottish Government to act, even as feebly as it did last month.

Ms Davidson said: ‘For many people in Scotland, the election campaign may be grabbing the attention but the fact is that thousands of farmers and crofters are still waiting to receive their CAP payments from the Scottish Government.

‘This was a failure of the SNP Government’s making.

‘I have been speaking to farmers today to discuss how best we ensure it is avoided in the future.

‘We are talking about people’s livelihoods and a key sector in our economy, but the SNP had taken their eye off the ball on this and many other issues.

‘Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon did not act until hundreds of farmers were preparing for a mass protest outside Holyrood, while Scottish Conservative MSPs were calling for a full independent inquiry into the fiasco.

‘The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly raised this issue in parliament and will continue to stand up for our farmers and crofters. We will be the strong opposition that Holyrood needs to hold the SNP to account.’

Problems with the failing Scottish Government IT system have already cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds in cost-overruns.

It has also emerged that ministers were warned that there were problems with the system – and failed to act.

One such warning even came – two years ago, from the senior authority of Scotland’s Auditor General, the independent public spending watchdog.

The Audit Commission is due to report on the issue again in May – and, feebly, has given in to government pressure and will not report until after the 5th May, when the Scottish Election.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • She’s certainly the girl is Ruthie for the never ending demands for enquiries. It’s a form of attention seeking that minority players deploy with tedious regularity – but one wonders why she isn’t demanding one into the Edinburgh and beyond PFI schools scandal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

    Willie April 16, 2016 8:48 am Reply
    • Her wee Tankette must have developed a fault!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

      Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 9:41 am Reply
  • Willie and HJ, you really do not care about the Scottish farming industry but then neither do the SNP, that is going to cost you a lot of votes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

    richard April 16, 2016 12:28 pm Reply
    • When did I say I don’t care for Farmers,Dick?
      It’s Tory’s I detest!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

      Hugh Jazz April 16, 2016 12:37 pm Reply
      • HJ, if you care about Scottish farmers you will agree that the hapless Mr Lochhead has to go, a computer system cost that is heading toward £500m and payment to farmers delayed by 4 months even though he and the Government were aware of the issue.
        How is it this hasn’t happened south of the border?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

        richard April 16, 2016 12:56 pm Reply
        • Down south,as you put it,has the worst health service in Europe!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

          Hugh Jazz April 17, 2016 8:06 pm Reply
          • HJ, we were discussing the failure of the SG to distribute the subsidy money owed to farmers and crofters. What has the health service got to do with it?
            I hate to burst your little bubble but I can tell you that I was looked after extremely well recently and received exceptional treatment at all stages from all involved when I needed medical help in West Sussex.
            Your bitter attitude distorts any view you have, I suggest you try living there before passing comment. There’s nothing like blind ignorance.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

            Richard April 17, 2016 9:56 pm
        • Sadly, it has.
          “South of the border” as you put it, they have their own computer system. It cost considerably more than the Scottish system…and doesn’t work either. Actually the performance of the “South of the border” system has historically resulted in farmers receiving their payments after the EU June deadline, if at all, …and as a result fines have been incurred.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31976230

          http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240242763/What-went-wrong-with-Defras-rural-payments-system

          http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Public-Sector-News/a-repeat-it-failure-for-defra-it-suspends-the-new-online-farm-subsidies-claim-system

          So, while it’s true that THIS year it looks as though English farmers will receive their subsidies on time (ie before June), the system that operates “south of the border” is far from perfect… see for example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35698852.

          or for more detail, you might want to read the conclusions and recommendations of the House of Commons Select Committee:

          http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/642/64205.htm#_idTextAnchor006

          As a counter balance to Ruth Davidson’s politically motivated attack on Lockhead ( which the For Argyll blog is only too happy to echo), you might consider this, all in the interests of a balanced perspective:

          http://caltonjock.com/2016/03/22/farming-subsidies-ruth-the-golden-child-a-timely-message-from-waiting-in-the-wings-boris/

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          jake April 17, 2016 10:02 pm Reply
          • Does this mean that the key criterion is always what happens in England?
            That if a mess south of the border is worse – with so much greater a population size – than a mess in Scotland, that this makes the mess in Scotland OK?
            No acceptably independent minded country looks over it shoulder as often as Scotland does; and excuses its own cock-ups on such concocted and, one would have hoped, irrelevant reassurances.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            newsroom April 17, 2016 10:18 pm
          • With regard to your question ” Does this mean that the key criterion is always what happens in England?” , I assume you’re asking that both of me and Richard who first raised the cross border comparison as being somehow relevent, in fact it seemed to form some part of his case for “Mr Lochhead has to go”.

            My post of course wasn’t about the relevance or otherwise of cross border comparison, it was in answer to Richards question “How is it this hasn’t happened south of the border?”. In general terms it’s my view that something similar has happened there, and I’ve provided some links to support that. I’d be interested in hearing if Richard still holds with the view that “this hasn’t happened south of the border” and, since you raise the matter of relevance, whether it should have any bearing on Mr Lochhead continuing in post.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            jake April 18, 2016 1:53 am
  • It is absolutely appalling that farmers and crofters are having to wait so long for much needed payments, and oft promised payments, This is an issue that not just parliamentarians but also officials should have sorted out many months ago. I am sure that both MSPs and civil servants would have been whirling their claymores and engaging in battle if their monthly salaries had been withheld for such a long time. For farmers and crofters the monies form part of their livelihood. All of our MSPs and officials should be ashamed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Argyll Traveller April 17, 2016 6:21 pm Reply

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