Jim Hume Scottish Liberal Democrat South Scotland MSP has criticised the Scottish Government for its handling of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments issue.
Since June 2014 the Scottish Government has spent £178m putting the new support scheme for farmers in place with payments due to run from December to June.
Mr Hume warned that the system has only delayed a vital source of income for farmers across South Scotland and that many of them are bracing themselves in the expectation that farm payments will not be distributed before Christmas.
Pressure on the Scottish Government’s handling of CAP reform is also growing in the sector with NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker already criticising the fact that no proposals on Greening measures are due to come forward until next year and no changes made until 2017.
Mr Hume said:
“Farmers across South Scotland have found the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) even more bureaucratic than the last one.
“Despite Scottish Government promises there is no guarantee that farm payments will be paid before Christmas, the government has spent £178million on a computer that cannot get the job done.
“We’re now told things may get better in the future and while any reduction of the grotesquely unfair penalty regime would be good, these changes must apply now.
“If there is to be a fairer system it must be retrospective and cover 2015.”