Ruth Davidson - CAP Payments - culture of secrecy and denial in the SNP government goes right to the top
- Alfie Baron
This catastrophe has been blamed on a failing £178 million computer system designed to make the payments to Scotland's farmers.
This time last year Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) payments were way behind schedule with farmers calling for the head of Richard Lochhead. Fergus Ewing took over from Richard Lochhead in a cabinet reshuffle.
As of last week it is thought that over a third of eligible farmers (6,000) had yet to receive their payments.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has been accused of attempting to cover up the application for more time. It appears that a request was made on Tuesday to extend the deadline to 15th October.
Scottish Conservative Leader, Ruth Davidson, had repeatedly questioned Nicola Sturgeon during Holyrood exchanges. Nicola Sturgeon dodged these questions with confirmation actually coming from the European Commission. Nicola Sturgeon was asked for a direct yes or no answer but said officials are “working hard to process the remaining payments”.
The Scottish Government received a £5 million fine last year after an extension was granted. Fines this time are expected to be in the region of £60 million - if an extension if not granted.
Ruth Davidson said: “Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing promised they would fix their broken farm payments system after last year’s debacle.
“Instead, we now learn that the SNP has once again failed to deliver on time for Scotland’s rural economy – risking another huge fine and further delays for hard-pressed farmers and crofters. Instead of confronting this issue when I raised it with her today, the First Minister tried to duck it.”
She added: “This sorry episode only confirms that the culture of secrecy and denial in the SNP government goes right to the top.”
Michael Gove, the new UK Environment Secretary, has said that Scottish farmers will not lose out on subsidies as a result of Brexit.