The payment, known as a convergence uplift, had been awarded to Scottish farmers by the European Union in 2013 but DEFRA had failed to pass on. Instead they distributed the bulk of it to farmers in England and Wales. The cash was supposed to bring Scottish hill farmers on a par with farms across the EU.
Ms McAlpine also disputed claims by the Conservatives that the payments are ‘extra cash’ or that the announcement was as a result of a campaign by Scottish Tory MPs.
Commenting Ms McAlpine says,
“The UK Government spin on this is mendacious. The truth is they stole cash that was supposed to go to Scottish hill farmers and they’re only handing it over now as a bribe to voters because they know a general election is approaching.
“This money was awarded by the European Union in 2013 and was aimed at addressing the low payments received by Scottish farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy. But the UK Government failed to pass it on.
“Since 2013, The National Farmers Union in Scotland and the Scottish Government have repeatedly asked for and been promised, by successive DEFRA Ministers, a review into the spending decision. Yet just last year Michael Gove claimed the money was already spent and called the SNP ‘grievance-mongering separatists’ for raising the issue in Parliament.
“So although farmers in Scotland will welcome this cash boost, they won’t be fooled by Tory attempts to claim credit for passing it on. They’ll see through it as the pre-election stunt that it is.”
Links to further information on the convergence uplift:
South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the SNP’s ambitious new plans to tackle climate change and build a fairer country, outlined today in this year’s Programme for Government.
Setting out her plans for the year ahead, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out how the Scottish Government would tackle the climate crisis with a range of new measures including £500 million of investment in public transport.
The Scottish Government will put in place a ‘Green New Deal’, harnessing the power of the Scottish National Investment Bank to attract £3 billion of investment into green projects.
It was also confirmed that the Scottish Child Payment, a brand new benefit to tackle child poverty, will be launched earlier than previously announced – with the first payments made by Christmas 2020.
Other commitments include:
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The SNP has achieved a huge amount in government – in just the last year we’ve increased NHS funding, increased teacher numbers and pay and delivered brand new benefits through our Scottish Social Security Agency.
“Our plan for the year ahead is an ambitious set of proposals to tackle climate change and build a fairer country.
“Even in the midst of Westminster chaos and instability, the Scottish Government is determined to get on with improving lives in [AREA] and across Scotland.
“But it cannot be stressed enough – while we are doing everything we can to move Scotland forward, the threat to our economy and our society posed by Boris Johnson’s plan for a No Deal Brexit remains.”
REPORT FINDS ELDERLY IN UK SUFFER THE WORST POVERTY RATE IN WESTERN EUROPE
SNP MSP, Joan McAlpine, has warned the Tory government against increasing the state pension age, which would have dire and disproportionate consequences in Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland.
The Tories’ threat comes following a report published by the Centre for Social Justice – chaired by close Boris Johnson ally, Iain Duncan Smith – which concludes that the state pension age should rise to 75 over the next 16 years.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has said that any further increases in the state pension age could have a hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland due to its unique demographic needs.
The MSP also called on the UK government to heed warnings raised in a new report that found the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986 – the largest increase among western European countries.
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The Tory’s government’s approach to the UK’s elderly population and state pension policy has been cruel and callous.
“From the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, to the stripping away of free TV licences for the over 75s, this government’s attitude towards its older people is shameful.
“Instead of taking on board policies written up by one of the architects of Tory austerity, the new Prime Minister must take action to address the dire levels of pensioner poverty in the UK.
“The Tory government must take a step back and tackle these injustices – rather than ramping up the threats.”
The support event, which was organised by the Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), took place in Dumfries on Wednesday 17th July at the Best Western Station Hotel on Lovers Walk.
People who are facing redundancy in the wake of the company going into administration were able to hear about the help and support which is available to them through PACE and other sources. Similar events have since been held in Stranraer and Ayr.
Those who attended the event in Dumfries were a mixture of people including some whose contracts had already been terminated, some people who were still working for the company, and others who had handed in their notices having secured alternative employment.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) leads on the delivery of PACE support in conjunction with a number of key partners including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Speaking about the closure and the support available to those affected, Joan McAlpine MSP said:
“The closure of Border Cars is very regrettable indeed and is a blow to several communities.
“My sympathies are with the workers who are affected by redundancy or job insecurity, and their families.
“I was pleased, however, to see the government respond so promptly with these PACE events, which are designed to support workers move forward. I would encourage anyone who is facing difficulty or insecurity as a result of this closure to get in touch with Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000 or by popping into their office on the High St. in Dumfries.”