An SNP administration IT blunder that has led to Scottish farmers failing to receive hundreds of millions of pounds in European Union payments must either be resolved now or the Scottish Government should start making direct payments to farmers to make up the shortfall, Kris Chapman, Scottish Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said today.
“This is an absolute scandal,” said Chapman. “Scottish farmers are hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket as a result of SNP incompetence, and yet the SNP appear to have their heads stuck in the sand. Our Scottish Borders farming community struggles at the best of times, and our farmers simply cannot afford any more delays in their payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The only reason these payments aren’t coming through is because the SNP are failing to administer them. Enough is enough. If the SNP do not fix this now then the Scottish Government need to start making payments directly to our farmers to make up the shortfall. Perhaps then the SNP will be motivated to fix the payment systems problem they have created.”
Newspaper The Press & Journal recently reported that Richard Lochhead, the SNP’s rural affairs secretary, had been warned as early as 2014 that IT failures meant CAP payments were likely to run into difficulty. The failure has been estimated to have left Scottish farmers out of pocket to the tune of £500 million.
“Our rural communities are being badly let down by an administration that’s clearly not focusing on the day-to-day duties of government,” continued Chapman. “They must be held to account for this failure at the ballot box in May.”