Confidence in the Scottish Government to deliver next year’s round of agricultural payments is now so hollow that an extra £42 million has been budgeted to manage future incompetence.
Scottish Government blunders over the 2015/16 round of CAP subsidy has cost Scotland’s rural economy millions of pounds due to late payments and the Scottish taxpayer an extra £1 million in staff overtime. On top of that, the budget for their defunct IT system has now been increased from £178 million to over £200 million.
Following another string of failures this month in their replacement loan scheme, the Scottish Government have increased the CAP compliance budget by 61.1%, £42 million, for 2017.
North East MSP Mike Rumbles said: “The Scottish Government’s incompetent handling of farm payments has been shocking. It is no surprise they don’t trust themselves to deliver next year’s payments without another blunder and they are now planning for the fiasco continue well into 2017.
“Putting aside an extra £42 million to cope with more failure in 2017 is depressing. On top of that, almost a third of farmers have not received any of their entitlement this winter, because of the failure of the loan system. That means over £200 million that should be circulating in the rural economy is missing - hitting all sorts of rural businesses.
“It isn't good enough for the Scottish Government to pretend that the June deadline set by the European Commission is some kind of normal 'pay date'. If SNP can’t do the job they shouldn’t be in government.”