SNP MSP’s Joan McAlpine and Emma Harper have welcomed an announcement that farmers have received £246 million from the CAP loan scheme.
Ms McAlpine used Parliamentary questions to ask the Scottish Government what progress was being made on the implementation of the scheme.
The Scottish Government established the scheme to tide over those farmers yet to receive Common Agricultural Policy subsidies because of IT issues caused by moves to a new system. Most farmers received the majority of their entitlement by April, but earlier this year Mr Ewing apologised for the delays farmers faced and assured members that the Scottish Government was doing everything in its power to sort it.
Responding to Ms McAlpine’s question, Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing said payments totalling £246 million had been made last week. This means that 12,000 farmers have now received their first payment.
He also advised that 5,000 farmers had received a loan offer but not yet responded to it.
Ms McAlpine commented:
“I am glad the Rural Secretary has been working hard to fix the issues caused by the new IT system. This funding will give rural communities in Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland the security and certainty they need to plan for the year ahead.
“If any local farmers have yet to respond to their loan offer and wish to apply I would encourage them to return the application slip as soon as possible.”
Her south Scotland colleague Emma Harper MSP added:
“Mr Ewing’s announcement this week is very welcome news. I very much recognise the cash flow issues facing Scottish agriculture, which underpins our £14bn food and drink industry, and want to reassure farmers that the Scottish Government will continue to work flat out to ensure that payments reach them.
“If any of my constituents are experiencing difficulty I would urge them to contact me and let me know so that I can help.”
The UK Government has also faced substantial difficulties in relation to late CAP payments – also caused by moves a new IT system.
The UK is currently facing £180 million fines over farm subsidy delays.