Scottish Government pay £1.3 million in staff overtime since CAP shambles began

North East MSP Mike Rumbles has said that Ministers must be held to account after figures emerged today showing that the Scottish Government’s failure to get to grips with overdue farm payments could have cost the Scottish Taxpayer as much as £1.3 million in staff overtime.


In a reply to Mr Rumbles from the Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs, it came to light that extra staffing costs have risen to a total of £1,336,000 since the Scottish Government’s £178 million IT system crashed in 2015. With additional overtime for staff expected to continue until at least this summer.


The figures also showed that only 13,342 of roughly 18,000 farm businesses in Scotland applied for the Scottish Government loan replacement scheme, this winter. Leaving millions of pounds in government coffers rather than in the rural economy.


Mr Rumbles said: “Our agricultural sector and rural economy has taken a huge financial hit from the mess this Scottish Government has created. On top of that, Ministers are still spending over a thousand pound every day in staff overtime to deliver farm support payments that are now weeks overdue.


“This is the third year in a row that our rural communities and farm businesses have been left out of pocket. Hard working staff in the rural payments department are under extreme pressure to make up the ground, while the SNP seem clueless about how to fix the problem.


“We need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s time the Minister told the public when farm payments will be back on track.”




Notes for editors:


Parliamentary Written Questions:


  • Mike Rumbles (29/01/18): To ask the Scottish Government what the cost was of staff overtime accrued to process common agricultural basic payments in each year since 2015-16.


Fergus Ewing: Details of overtime accrued are as follows. 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.












To end of December 2017


  • Mike Rumbles (29/01/18): To ask the Scottish Government how many farm businesses applied for the basic payments loan scheme by the end of 2017, and how many of those have received a loan payment.


Fergus Ewing: By the end of 2017 13,342 farmers and crofters had accepted the Scottish Governments offer of a National Basic Payment Scheme loan with 13,291 of them receiving payment by 29 December 2017. I am conscious that some farmers and crofters have yet to take up the offer of a loan. Those who wish to do so, have until 9th February to confirm they wish to accept the offer that has been made to them. With two weeks until the scheme closes, I would therefore encourage all farmers and crofters, who are yet to accept the offer of a loan, to do so as soon as possible. This is their money. It does not take anything away from the NHS or other public services. Its theirs, they deserve it, and they should have it.


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