CAP Payments are an absolute shambles


One of the biggest scandals of the last couple of years has been the ongoing saga of delays to a new computer system that is supposed to ensure that farmers receive crucial EU payments on time.

Deadlines have been missed and missed again. The budget has ballooned by more than £70 million. And at the end of it all, we still don’t know whether we will have a working system by the EU deadline at the end of June. Farmers across Scotland are yet to get the money they are owed.

Farmers across Scotland are yet to get the money they are owed.

The National Farmers Union of Scotland estimate that delays to payments have taken hundreds of millions of pounds out of our rural economy. This has affected not only farmers, but the workers they employ and businesses in the supply chain too. The impact has been enormous and will be felt for years. Up to this point there is little evidence that SNP Ministers are taking this seriously.

A report from Audit Scotland this week laid bare the scale of the failure of the Scottish Government to get a grip on the project.

They uncovered a litany of failure and staggering incompetence dating back two years.

The facts are staggering.

A project director with a conflict of interest over hiring arrangements was still in a position to influence recruitment more than a year after SNP ministers were alerted. Evidence from a whistle blower indicates this individual could have personally profited by £10,000 a day as a result.

They uncovered a litany of failure and staggering incompetence dating back two years.

Meanwhile, no farmers have been fully paid and entitlements have yet to be confirmed. The IT project is set to run out of money despite its budget already increasing by 75% and failure to meet deadlines could see Scotland clobbered with £125 million in fines.

No farmers have been fully paid and entitlements have yet to be confirmed

We know SNP ministers were made aware of problems before the referendum but waited months to warn farmers this could impact on their businesses.

Throughout this critical reform the first instinct of the SNP was always to insist things were not as bad as they seemed instead of being upfront with farmers and Parliament about the failures they were presiding over.

If the new Cabinet Secretary hopes to start repairing the government’s relationship with the industry they must urgently clarify what steps will now be taken to minimise the enormous cost of SNP incompetence to farmers, crofters and the rural economy.


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