Duncan calls on Lochead to fast-track payments to farmers
Ian Duncan, the Conservative MEP for Scotland, has called on Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead to speed up payments to Scottish farmers, who are wrangling with both low prices and bad weather. Farmers are due to receive European funds from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by the end of the year, but last week Mr Lochhead stated that there was ‘no guarantee’ that payments would be made by December, leaving farmers in no man’s land. The Scottish Government has devolved control of the CAP payments, but farmers have expressed concerns that the IT system is not up to the job.
Commenting Ian said
‘First we had the fiasco over the Scottish Government’s computer payments system for farmers, now we have the Government Minister in charge unable to meet his obligations. What next?
"Farmers across the country are telling me they are increasingly worried about their cash flow and the very survival of their businesses, and who can blame them given the awful weather and downward pressure on prices.
"The Irish Government have already committed to paying out a percentage of the CAP subsidy in October, why can’t the Scottish Government?
"South of the border farmers also need support, but they have not been nearly as badly affected by bad weather.
"I urge Mr Lochhead to look again at the powers, which he unquestionably has at his disposal, and use them to help farmers through these difficult times"
Notes to editors
NFU Scotland comments on Scottish Government online payment system - http://www.nfus.org.uk/news/2015/june/union-angered-latest-saf-shambles
Reported comments from Richard Lochhead regarding 'no guarantee' payments will be made by end of year - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/business/farming/652741/undefined-headline-1052/
Ian Duncan is Conservative MEP for Scotland and Chief Whip. He chairs the ECR Rural Affairs Policy Group in the European Parliamen
Contact Andrew Johnston
Head of Office, Ian Duncan MEP