More than 2,000 farmers still waiting for vital EU cash

One in five farmers in some parts of Scotland are still waiting on vital EU farm payments weeks after a government deadline passed.

Friday, 4th August 2017, 7:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:21 am
Many farmers are still waiting for money.

More than 2,000 farmers in Scotland have not received the cash amid ongoing problems with a new IT system.

The situation has been branded a “shambles” by opposition parties at Holyrood who say anger is growing among farmers.

Almost one in five in the Highlands, about 900 in total, have still not received all their payments, while hundreds are waiting in the north-east and in the south of Scotland.

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North East Scotland MSP Mike Rumbles said: “It will come as no surprise to anybody familiar with this shambles that weeks after the payment deadline hundreds of farmers are still out of pocket. Farmers across the Highlands and Islands and north-east are fuming at the Scottish Government’s handling of these lifeline payments. It has been an agricultural aberration.

Going forward the Cabinet Secretary must produce detailed plans for farming communities to scrutinise which explain how catastrophes like this will be prevented from occurring again.”

The Scottish Government faces being fined for its failure to make farm subsidy payments on time after European Commission bosses refused to extend the deadline for ministers. Mr Rumbles has previously suggested this could be as high as £60 million. This is the second year in a row ministers that the end of June deadline has been missed amid problems with the introduction of a £178m IT system.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are making good progress on issuing the outstanding payments as quickly as possible, with around 94 per cent of expected BPS, Greening and Young Farmer payments now paid to over 16,900 farmers equating to over £356m, with further payments being made on a daily basis. We have made an additional £43m of beef and sheep payments.

“There will inevitably be some cases that are processed before others, and often the more complex cases are required to be individually processed which may take more time. It is important to note though that, through a combination of payments made to date and the national loan scheme, the vast majority of farmers have already received their money.”