£20M agriculture ‘safety net’ for farmers due to IT delays

Tuesday February 23rd 2016

IT Delays for CAP Payments

A Scottish Government-backed loan scheme aimed at easing cash flow issues in Scottish agriculture has opened for applications today.

The cash flow issues for farmers have arisen due to the delays in the implementation of the Scottish Government IT system for new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments. Reforms to the CAP system saw the Single Farm Payment Scheme replaced by the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) last year. The IT system is already heavily over budget and has missed many of its deadlines.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced last week that the Scottish Government is making £20M available to help farmers and crofters facing hardship whilst waiting for CAP payments. The Scottish Government continues to process claims seven days a week and as of Wednesday had made almost 8,000 payments which equates to more than 43% of eligible claims.

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame is welcoming the news. Ms Grahame said:

“Farm payments remain the priority of the government but some farmers and crofters are still waiting and are therefore facing financial hardship as a result. I am delighted that the Scottish Government has put this fund in place as a safety net until all of the payments can be processed.

“Any farmer in my constituency who feels they are in financial difficulty is being asked to first contact their bank, which have offered to help more by, for example, waiving set-up fees.

“In light of this, the Scottish Government scheme is being targeted at those in genuine financial need but who cannot get support through their normal bank. If their request for assistance through their bank is declined they can then contact the Scottish Government for a fast-tracked interest-free advance worth 60% of their CAP claim to tide them over until their payment comes through.

“I’m sure hard-pressed farmers will welcome this emergency funding, which is interest free, as a stop-gap measure before they receive their CAP payment.”

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