Clarity needed on SNP's single farm payment policy

George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has written to Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead to seek clarification of the SNP’s policy on who will own the single farm payment entitlements under the new CAP

Mr Lyon is deeply concerned at amendments placed by SNP MEP Alyn Smith to European Parliament CAP legislation which will tie SFP entitlements to the land; effectively handing over ownership of the rights to the landowner and not the tenant farmer who farms the land and claims the payment.

Mr Lyon wants the Cabinet Secretary to confirm if this is SNP government policy or does he reject Mr Smith's bid to give landlords a stranglehold over tenants SFP.

Commenting, Mr Lyon said:

“I find it quite astonishing that my MEP colleague is seeking to hand over ownership of SFP rights to landowners at the expense of thousands of Scottish tenant farmers who have earned the right to these payments by actively farming the land.

“If this proposal was agreed then, at a stroke, Scottish tenant farmers’ assets worth millions of pounds would be handed on a plate to their landlords.

“In my view this is unacceptable and flies in the face of all the work that has been done to ensure it is the tenant farmer, actively farming the land, who owns the entitlement and not the landowner.

“Tenant Farmers will be furious at this blatant attempt to rob them of assets they have created through their own hard work.

“I am writing to the Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead asking him to confirm whether this is official SNP policy and if not ask him to speak out publicly and repudiate his colleagues actions.”