The First Minister, speaking in today’s parliament question time, refused to give assurances that the next round of Common Agricultural Policy support would not be a repeat of this year’s fiasco.
Replying to a question from North East MSP Mike Rumbles, the First Minister confessed to the failures of the Government to get to grips with the issue, and was forced to apologise again to farmers and their families for the bungle.
Mr Rumbles said: “I asked a very simple question of the First Minister, could she reassure our farming businesses that the shambles of the direct farm payments this coming year won’t be a repeat of this year’s shambles – and she wouldn’t even give that.
“Our farmers and rural communities have lost all confidence in the Scottish Government to deal with this issue. After the utter disarray of this year’s payments, many are hoping that the next round of CAP will set everything straight. But after the First Ministers words today, there is clearly no certainty that next year won’t be simply be a repeat of this Scottish Government shambles.
“With a thousand farmers still waiting for their payments, and no end in sight this mess seems likely to carry on for months and months.”