An Audit Report, put before a meeting of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee this morning, has underlined the wilful mismanagement of the Common Agricultural funding fiasco by the Scottish Government. ‘Many quality assurance and governance practices have been knowingly sacrificed’ according to the report - which the Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs has requested not be published.
North East MSP and Liberal Democrats rural affairs spokesman Mike Rumbles grilled the Minister by quoting the report and calling the loss of the defunct £178 million IT payment system ‘an appalling failure’.
Mr Rumbles said:
“The Scottish Government’s bungle over CAP payments has devastated many farm businesses and cost our rural economy untold millions. On top of that, the useless IT system installed by this government in 2015 has cost the Scottish taxpayer tens of millions of pounds and is still broken.
“The Minister has the gall to testify in front of the committee that the IT system is ‘not a failure’ while at the same time requesting that the report be kept confidential. Incredible.
“The report makes it clear that the Scottish Government’s mishandling of this crisis is nothing less than a slap in the face to our agricultural sector and the thousands of farm businesses that have been struggling to make ends meet.
“With farm payments still outstanding and no reassurances from the Minister that they are taking the steps required to fix this problem, I fear that there will be no end in sight until this government either changes its ways or is removed from office.”