There are more farmers in Perth and Kinross still waiting for last year’s farm support payments than in any other area of Scotland.
A written answer to parliament has revealed that 92 farmers using the Perth office of the Rural Payments and Inspections division are still waiting on either part or whole subsidy payments. Across the rest of Scotland just over 700 farmers are still waiting to be paid their 2015 support.
Last week, Rural Economy secretary Fergus Ewing admitted to parliament that there were ongoing issues with the IT system which required him to announce a new loan scheme for 2016 payments. This will result in farmers being paid 80% of their support up front in November and the remainder from January 2017.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith described the news as very disappointing and said last year’s “disaster” must not be repeated.
“Although this number represents just 3.6% of all eligible applicants, we must remember that these funds were originally due in the spring, not the autumn,” she said.
“Farm debt is at record levels across Scotland and the failure to pay subsidies on time has undoubtedly contributed to and exacerbated the problem.
“The Scottish Government must work harder to ensure the disaster of 2016 is not repeated next year and that starts by fulfilling outstanding payments to farmers in Perth and Kinross.”
North East Lib Deb MSP Mike Rumbles said the damage that is being caused to the rural economy and farming businesses would take years to heal.
“Governments had come and gone in less time than it has taken this administration to get to grips with their absolute bungle over CAP payments. And only last week, with great disappointment for many rural communities, the Minister confirmed that the crisis would carry on into next year’s round of funding.”