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Thousands of farmers still waiting for CAP payments

Thousands of farmers and crofters are still waiting for vital CAP payments - despite a Scottish Government pledge to take swift action to address the problem.

Rural businesses and families have been starved of hundreds of millions in pounds due to delays in processing the EU funding.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson met some of those affected in Aberdeenshire today to discuss the ongoing issues that many producers are facing due to the SNP's poor handling of the crisis.

Figures provided by NFU Scotland have shown that almost a third of farmers were still waiting for payouts as of last week.

It took the threat of a mass protest by farmers at Holyrood, warnings of a "cash crisis" in the sector and a call for a full independent inquiry to force the Scottish Government to act last month.

Ruth said:

"For many people in Scotland, the election campaign may be grabbing the attention, but the fact is that thousands of farmers and crofters are still waiting to receive their CAP payments from the Scottish Government.

"This was a failure of the SNP Government's making and I have been speaking to farmers today to discuss how best we ensure it is avoided in the future.

"We are talking about people's livelihoods and a key sector in our economy, but the SNP had taken their eye off the ball on this and many other issues.

"Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon did not act until hundreds of farmers were preparing for a mass protest outside Holyrood, while Scottish Conservative MSPs were calling for a full independent inquiry into the fiasco.

"The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly raised this issue in parliament and will continue to stand up for our farmers and crofters. We will be the strong opposition that Holyrood needs to hold the SNP to account."

Problems with a Scottish Government IT system have already cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds in cost-overruns.

It also emerged that ministers were warned that there were problems with the system, but failed to act.

Independent public spending watchdog Audit Scotland also raised concerns two years ago and is due to report on the issue again in May.

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