North East MSP Mike Rumbles has slammed the First Minister and Scottish Government for ignoring the damage caused to rural communities by their CAP payment debacle.
Addressing the parliament today (07/09/16) Mr Rumbles expressed his frustration with the contempt shown for farmers and the rural economy in the Government’s forthcoming programme.
Speaking after the debate, Mike Rumbles said: “I’m astounded at the First Minister’s audacity. I waited for some confirmation from the Scottish Government that payments for the coming year to our farmers would not be a repeat of this year’s shambles. But no such reassurances were given.
“There was no mention of the £140million failed IT system, no mention of the damage to our rural communities, and no mention of the millions of pounds of taxpayers money wasted on staff overtime and quick fixes that haven’t solved the problem.
“I hope that in the coming weeks the First Minister will hold her hands up, apologise to our farmers and their families, and give a cast iron guarantee this bungle will not happen again.”
Notes for editors:
Mike Rumbles MSP speech to the debate on the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2016-17 (07/09/16)
Deputy Returning Officer, I listened to the first ministers statement outlining her governments programme for the coming year. I waited, hoping that she would address the problems which have occurred over the past 12 months over the roll out of the Common Agricultural payments to our farming communities.
I was waiting for some confirmation that the Scottish Governments payments for the coming year to our farmers would not be a repeat of this year’s shambles.
I waited and I waited and I waited.
Am I surprised that no mention of the Common Agricultural policy payments by the Scottish Government to our farmers was made? No!
This statement by the First Minister was predictably long on rhetoric, long on self-praise and long on hot air.
The incompetence shown by Scottish Ministers on this issue has been clear to all. Deputy Presiding Officer, wouldn’t you think that the First Minister would take this opportunity to assure our farmers that this year’s incompetence would not be repeated this coming year?
No such reassurance was given.
However, even though the First Minister ignored her governments shambles over the Common Agricultural Policy payments to our farmers – she did turn briefly to the issue of the European Union itself.
She said that 62% of those who voted in the recent referendum in Scotland voted to remain. What she didn’t say is that 62% of voters have voted for the UK to remain in the EU. We were part of the UK vote just like other areas such as London, Newcastle and Northern Ireland.
The First Minister is clever in her use of language.
At the end of her statement she said that she will consult on a draft Referendum Bill so that it is ready for immediate introduction if we conclude that independence is the only way forward.
Is that the “Royal” we that was used I wonder?
In case that the First Minister gets ahead of herself here she should be reminded that we in Scotland have two parliaments – one dealing with reserved matters and one dealing with devolved issues.
Our parliament that deals with constitutional issues isn’t this one – the First Minister knows that any bill that the Scottish Government brings forward to this chamber has to be “signed off” by our presiding officer that it is both ECHR compliant and that it is within the powers of this parliament.
If the First Minister somehow manages to clear this hurdle – and I very much doubt it would – our Scottish courts would strike this referendum down as illegal.
This is nothing new of course for this government – just a few months ago the supreme court ruled that one of this governments bills was indeed illegal and struck it down.
In my view this is a bizarre debate. The First Minister has spent the summer months talking about nothing else than a second referendum about breaking up Britain.
It is clear that this is her priority over the coming years.
So, Deputy Presiding Officer the programme outlined (yesterday) has to be taken with a huge pinch of salt.
I for one believe that if the SNP government would just put aside this continuous divisiveness – it would have the opportunity to focus on real measures to improve the lives of the people of Scotland using the real powers available to this parliament.