In a meeting of rural economy committee this morning, the Minister admitted that failures in the Scottish Government’s delivery of Common Agriculture farm payments has led to around £184 million, that would normally enter the rural economy in December 2016, being delayed until June 2017.
Responding to a question from North East MSP Mike Rumbles, the Minister confirmed that while £455 million was paid out to rural businesses for the 2015/16 round of payments, the Scottish Government’s replacement loan scheme has only delivered
£271 million – leaving the rural economy short by approximately £184 million.
In addition, the Minister also confessed to the committee that more than a quarter of farm businesses have received absolutely nothing from the Scottish Government in 2017 CAP payments.
Mr Rumbles said: “The government’s loan scheme has been a shocking failure. It’s not only our farm businesses that have lost out, but the thousands of indirect services and communities who benefit from this vital investment.
“This is the second year of devastating setbacks for our agricultural industry. Following the crash of their defunct IT system worth over £178, our farmers have lost all faith in the Scottish Government’s competence to deliver these payments and are so distrustful of the Scottish Government that over 25% of them have not even applied for the loan.
“At least £184 million that would normally go toward paying for workers, equipment, and supplies, and would work its way into our shops and village centres through the winter, will now be delayed until June. This is simply not good enough and the Minister should make a solemn promise that next year’s round of payments will be delivered in full by the end of December 2017.”