Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman Tavish Scott MSP has slammed the SNP for blaming farmers for delays in the distribution of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments as he submitted a series of parliamentary questions on the continued delays.
In a briefing distributed around Holyrood on Tuesday, the SNP revealed one of the reasons they believe is behind the delays is because the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland ‘insisted we have three payment regions’.
Mr Scott has now submitted a series of Parliamentary Questions to establish what the position of government Ministers is in relation to the briefing. This comes the day after it was revealed that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs knew in early 2014 that major IT problems would lead to delays in distributing the payments but that farmers were left in the dark.
Speaking as he submitted the Parliamentary Questions, Mr Scott said: “It is wrong for the SNP to blame farmers for the never-ending delays in distributing CAP payments. The relationship between the Cabinet Secretary and the Scottish NFU has been going downhill for a while and this will not help.
“It seems farmers were left in the dark over the extent of the IT catastrophe because the Cabinet Secretary did not want to undermine the paper-thin case for independence. This is absolutely shameful. If people had known that payments were set to be delayed they could have planned accordingly. In the event, farmers and crofters have been left counting the cost of the SNP's failure to deliver CAP payments on time.
“Rather than pointing fingers at anyone else the SNP should accept responsibility as they are the Government."