£1.8 million in staff overtime to deliver agricultural payments


Information gathered by Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles shows that the Scottish Government has spent over £1.8 million on staff overtime since its IT system for delivering farm support payments crashed in 2015.

The IT system, which cost the Scottish Government £178 million to develop, was due to start processing EU Common Agricultural Basic Payments in 2015. However, due to the operational failure of the programme, the Scottish Government has banked on thousands of extra staff hours and a series of temporary loan payments for farm business to deliver annual payments worth £500 million to Scotland’s rural economy.   

 

Mr Rumbles said: “Not every minute of staff overtime will be due to the Scottish Government’s failed IT system. But what is clear is that the incompetent handling of support payments over four years has cost our rural economy millions of pounds in essential trade and investment. Now we find out it has cost the Scottish Taxpayer £1.8 million in staff overtime as well.

 

“I want to thank the staff that have put in the extra work to deliver the funding that is vital to our rural economy but this complete blunder never should have happened in the first place.

 

“Uncertainty over the future of support payments and Brexit has already put many farm businesses at risk. The last thing our rural economy needs is for our government to fail to deliver £500 million worth of financial support on time.”

 

ENDS

Notes for editors:

  • Parliamentary Written Question: 1 May 2019 - Index Heading: Economy - Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government how much it has cost in staff overtime to deliver the Basic Payments Scheme in each year since 2015-16. S5W-22763

 

Fergus Ewing:

Year

Amount

2015-16

£531k

2016-17

£430k

2017-18

£471k

2018-19

£404k

The 2018-19 could be amended as the final accounts for this year are not yet finalised. Please note that the figures in each case are totals, across the Rural Payments and inspections Division (RPID) and the Information Systems Division (ISD). Staff in these divisions work on a range of activities, which are more or less related to the task of making payments (application processing, validation, inspections, field mapping, monitoring, administering, supporting the IT, etc). A precise breakdown by activity is not available.


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