Scottish Liberal Democrat rural spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has today criticised the Scottish Government’s disastrous handling of farm payments after an Audit Scotland report revealed that it faces a further £60 million in fines for its errors.
The report details a number of blunders in the delivery of the Common Agricultural Policy Futures programme, highlighting the Scottish Government’s failure to manage or evaluate the potential cost of the continuing crisis.
Concerns raised within the report include:
- £52 million that was lost in the last round of payments due to incorrectly interpreting EU guidelines;
- difficulties, delays and duplications of farm payments over the period;
- poor accessibility and communication with farm businesses;
- the failure to resolve complications with the £178 million IT system, which crashed in 2015;
- and, additional costs accrued through mismanagement to develop and deliver the programme.
Commenting Mr Rumbles said:
“We are now seeing the depth of the Scottish Government’s catastrophic handling of farm payments over recent years. This report amounts to a damning indictment of their failures.
“Audit Scotland have made it clear that this is not just a problem with a broken IT system or a single ministerial bungle. The Scottish Government has repeatedly added fuel to the fire, blunder after blunder.
“The SNP’s ignorance and contempt for our rural communities has caused lasting damage to jobs, investment and growth in our rural economy. They still refuse to put the time and effort into fixing these issues. They won’t even assess the harm that has been done.
“It should not take a disappointing election result to convince the Scottish Government to sit up and get on with the day job.”