The Scottish Conservatives have accused the SNP of letting progress on CAP payments stall, following reports that the Scottish Government may escape fines due to UK-wide progress.
1300 farmers are still to receive CAP payments. Just 126 payments were made last week, which represents a significant drop from the previous rate of 1745 in the week before the deadline of 30th June.
Last week £1m of payments were made – compared to £59 million in the week before the deadline.
Under European rules 95 per cent of payments should have been made by 30 June, but the Scottish Government fell short, only reaching 90.4 per cent. The Scottish Government was forced to request an extension from the European Commission for the second year running.
In contrast, Defra made 99.2 per cent of payments in England by the end of June deadline.
Media reports suggest that this UK-wide progress could spare Scotland heavier fines.
Audit Scotland recently warned that European fines of up to £60 million are possible if the troubled CAP IT system does not work. Scottish Conservative shadow rural affairs secretary Peter Chapman said: “The SNP has clearly taken their foot off the accelerator when it comes to delivering CAP payments. “It is the ultimate irony that no sooner had it emerged the UK situation could spare the SNP’s blushes, progress in Scotland has now stalled. “These payments can’t get into the rural economy quickly enough, but for a second year running many farmers are still being made to wait. “It was humiliating for the Scottish Government to have to beg the European Commission for a deadline extension due to their shambolic handling of these important payments. “Audit Scotland warned that even next year the IT system may not be working as it should and many farmers will now be wondering if it will ever be fit for purpose."
Notes to editors:
The Scottish Government provides weekly reports on CAP payments showing that in the week ending 14 July 126 payments had been processed. There are 17980 eligible applicants for payments and 16686 have been processed to date. The report can be accessed here.
Audit Scotland’s June 2017 report on the CAP IT system can be accessed here.
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to fix the CAP payment system (see press releases below)