Scottish hill farmers missing out on £190m CAP money, claims Fergus Ewing
CAP payments should have been topped up from UK Government allocation, claims Rural Economy Secretary
Fergus Ewing - Scottish Parliament
Scottish hill famers are missing out on £190m worth of extra European funding because of the UK Government, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has claimed.
Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) convergence uplift money was allocated to the UK to bring per hectare support up to the European average.
This had been due to reforms of the CAP system to redistribute direct payments.
Ewing said Westminster had failed to provide a “level playing field” between English and Scottish farmers.
“Despite repeated requests, there is no evidence the UK Government are taking action to deliver a fair share of the additional convergence funding to Scotland,” he said.
“Without the Scottish rate, there would have been no extra money for the UK.
“For example, had the full allocation been delivered to Scotland, instead of being shared across the UK on a historic basis, our hill farmers could have an extra £14,000 over the six year payment period, a significant amount for farmers, although of course the actual amount would depend on the scale of the business.”
Meanwhile almost 20,000 applications for 2017 CAP payments were received from Scottish farmers before the May 15 deadline, the Scottish Government has confirmed, with an increase in online applications.
Due to the failure of a £178m government IT system, there were severe delays to farmers receiving payments last year, while deadline extensions were necessary in both 2015 and 2016.
Last year Audit Scotland produced a damning report into the Government's handling of the IT failures including the handling of CAP payments.
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