Minister to face MSPs over CAP payment delays

The Scottish Government will today face calls for an inquiry into its handling of vital farming subsidies.

 

Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy minister, will be questioned by MSPs over the fiasco, some farmers still awaiting payments that were expected to be delivered last December.

 

The subsidies come from the EU but the payments are administered by the Scottish Government.

 

Earlier this summer, the deadline for making the payments was extended from June to 15th October by the EU – meaning that the Scottish Government avoided a potential fine of up to £125 million.

 

Peter Chapman MSP, the Scottish Conservative rural affairs spokesman, last week called for a parliamentary inquiry in order to restore farmers’ confidence in the payment system.

 

The North East MSP has also raised concerns that the delays will have an impact on the ability of the Scottish Government to get this year’s payments out in good time.

 

Commenting, Mr Chapman said, “There is a lot of concern out there among farmers that they will have to go through these problems all over again.

 

“Money was poured into an IT system that didn’t work, still isn’t working properly and the government won’t tell us when it will be fully functional.

 

“Hard working officials in area offices up and down Scotland are being let down by this government’s inability to deliver the required IT system.”

 

He added, “Fergus Ewing has an opportunity in today’s statement to give clarity to farming businesses across Scotland for this year’s payments.

 

“He must also recognise the need for an inquiry in order to restore farmers’ confidence in this IT system.”