MSP Joan McAlpine has said delays to a £160 million farm payments review show that Scotland’s farmers are being taken for granted by the UK government.
Last year Michael Gove agreed to review the amount of EU CAP funding Scottish farmers were receiving after the SNP said they were being short changed by £160 million.
There was outrage at the Royal Highland Show last week when UK Environment secretary Michael Gove failed to give the Scottish farming industry any assurance that the long-promised review into the allocation of £160m of convergence funding would go ahead.
The Scottish Government and the National Farmers Union had expected a commitment that cash for Scotland’s per hectare subsidy support would be brought more in line with the European average.
However, Mr Gove made no commitment to a review.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“Farmers across Dumfries and Galloway are being short changed by the UK Government.
“The UK only qualified for an uplift in CAP payments from Brussels because of Scotland’s status. The Treasury received £190 million, and only distributed £30 million of that in Scotland, despite the money being earned here.
“There are deep concerns about the indefinite delay to the £160 million farm payments review. The SNP has written to Mr Gove asking for a timetable for a review – it is unacceptable for farmers to be asked to take decisions on the post-Brexit period without the full facts.
“The issue here is one of certainty and trust, and for this review to be delayed yet again sends the message that Scotland’s needs in agricultural funding discussions are of insufficient priority to the UK Government to merit any form of prompt action.
“The Scottish Government has confirmed less favoured area support scheme (LFASS) payments in Scotland will continue into 2019.”
Under the last CAP reform, the EU set out to redistribute direct payments more equitably across Europe based on average Euros per hectare. Member states receiving less than 90% of the EU average – including the UK – were awarded an uplift. Without the Scottish rate, there would have been no uplift for the UK, however Scottish farmers received only £30 million of the £190 million awarded to the UK.