The failure by Scottish Government to meet its own CAP payments timetable has led to a call from NFU Scotland for a new statement to be issued.
After months of repeated requests from NFU Scotland to provide details on when Scottish farmers and crofters could expect delivery of the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) into rapidly-emptying bank accounts, Scottish Government made a statement in mid-November 2015 that payments under the new BPS were to be made in two instalments of 70 percent and 30 percent.
According to the Scottish Government, a quarter of Scottish farmers were to have received their first instalment by the end of December; the majority to receive their 70 percent part-payment by the end of January with the remainder receiving the first tranche of BPS by the end of March. The balance payment of 30 percent was to be delivered to all by the end of April.
However, only 18 percent of Scottish farmers received their part payment by the end of 2015 leaving four out of every five applicants in the dark over when the first tranche of payments may arrive. The recent issue of letters intended to provide an estimate of entitlement values to farmers have added to the confusion.
With Scotland’s investment of £180 million in a computer delivery system – costing nearly £10,000 per BPS application – continuing to fail, the Union believes it is wholly appropriate for Scottish Government to issue a new payment timetable statement.
While appreciating the time and resources being directed towards sorting out the flawed delivery system, the Union’s own call is for 90 percent of producers to have received 90 percent of their support payments by the end of this month.
In addition, the Union is calling for Scottish Government to give categorical assurances that failures to deliver direct support will have no knock-on effects on the delivery of other vital schemes including Less Favoured Areas support, beef calf and ewe hogg coupled schemes and agri-environment application approvals.
NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “It has been a miserable and costly start to 2016 for many farm businesses and the ability to plan ahead has never been more crucial.
“The ongoing failure in Scottish Government’s systems to deliver new CAP scheme support means that it has already missed its own December target by some distance. Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead has indicated that his intention is to keep industry fully informed on progress so a new statement on payment timetables is now needed.
“The fact is that Scottish Government paid out part-support to a meagre 18 percent of claimants in December – not 25 percent as intended – meaning 82 percent are still completely in the dark as to when their first instalment will arrive.
“The recent issuing of letters to claimants, providing an illustration of entitlement values, was intended to give some comfort to producers still waiting on delayed payments and to provide sufficient information for farm businesses to have discussions with key service providers, including their banks.
“However, feedback from many recipients indicates that the letters have not done that and farmers have found them confusing rather than clarifying matters. Information on the greening element of the payment and reduction co-efficients attached to Region 2 and Region 3 land have been poorly explained. Also farms need to know why some of their land may not appear on their entitlement.
“Moving forward, our clear position remains that 90 percent of business should be receiving 90 percent of their BPS and Greening payments by the end of January and anything less is unacceptable given the current circumstances that farmers and crofters find themselves in.”

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