The SNP must “up its game” to ensure farmers receive well overdue CAP payments before the end of March, the Scottish Conservatives said today.
The CAP payment crisis started with a £200 million botched IT system which civil servants have been struggling to put right.
Now official Scottish Government figures reveal there are still more than 10,000 payments outstanding and only 7,887 farmers have received payment out of a total of 18,300.
The figures show less than 1,000 payments were made last week which brings the total farmers paid up to around 40 per cent.
But with 60 per cent of payments still outstanding it now it is looks increasing unlikely that the promised payments will not be made before the end of March.
And yesterday, Ian Duncan MEP raised fresh concerns that hill and sheep farmers will not receive Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments totalling £65 million on time.
These payments were due to be made in the first week of March; however farmers have not heard anything from the SNP government on whether this deadline will be met.
Scottish Conservative rural affairs spokesman Alex Fergusson said:
“The SNP government must up its game on CAP payments because farmers across Scotland cannot afford to be even further out of pocket.
“With 60 per cent of payments still outstanding and around 1,000 payments being paid each week, there is no way the SNP are going to be able to pay all farmers by the end of March at the present rate.
“From the start the CAP payment fiasco has been a crisis for our rural communities. Farmers have been waiting on this money, many are now in financial difficulty and it is all down to a botched IT system. This is a shambles entirely of the Scottish Government’s own making.
“Farmers now need assistance, many are struggling and the Scottish Government needs to be getting on with the job in hand, instead of trying to divert attention by obsessing about a second independence referendum.”