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: