Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Payments worth more than a third of a billion pounds will continue, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP has announced.
In the coming months, eligible farmers, crofters and land managers will receive their 2018 Common Agricultural Policy Pillar 1 entitlement, with around 78% of eligible claimants having already received up to 90% of their entitlement through a Scottish Government loan in October.
Mr Ewing said:
“In line with the payment schedule 1 published last year, I can confirm that the first tranche of 2018 Basic Payment, Greening and Young Farmer payments has now begun.
“In total, over £300 million of European funding will be paid to more than 18,000 farmers, crofters and land managers, offset by the recovery of BPS2018 loans where customers chose to take one. This funding will directly support investment, jobs and the rural economy moving forward, providing certainty for many in our rural communities. With further payments being made in the coming weeks and months, I am confident that the majority of payments will be made by the end of the payment window.
“With Brexit continuing to present the biggest threat to the industry, I would remind farmers that the farm payment element of the Common Agricultural Policy payments are guaranteed at current levels until 2021, offering a degree of certainty and stability during these uncertain times. In the meantime, I continue to push the UK Government for confirmation that Pillar 2 funding is included under their funding guarantee – a confirmation we have yet to receive.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“I welcome this progress in payments by the SNP Government; however, let’s not forget how the UK Tory Government has gone out of its way to deny Scottish farmers their fair share of CAP payments since 2014.
“Under the last CAP reform, the EU set out to redistribute direct payments more equally based on average Euros per hectare. The UK only qualified for a £190 million uplift because Scotland’s low payment rate per hectare, which brought the UK below the qualifying threshold.
“First, the UK Government allocated only £30 million of that £190 million to Scotland, with the rest distributed across the UK, despite the money being earmarked by the EU for Scotland.
“Then, despite promising a review into the £160 million in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding owed to Scottish hill farmers, the UK Government indicated an open-ended delay in May last year.
“A few months later, having to be pressed by Mr Ewing, the Tory Government finally admitted that new conditions attached to a proposed review of convergence funding rule out any consideration of the way the funds were allocated in the years between 2014-2020 and not a penny of the £160 million owed to Scottish farmers will ever make its way to Scotland.”