The drive for a fairer CAP is right, says NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller, but direct agricultural support cannot be truly equitable until anomaly cases excluding deserving businesses from LFASS payments are also corrected.

Additionally, maintaining the full LFASS budget and spend is a red-line issue for the Union.

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, Mr. Miller acknowledges the successful efforts to bring new and developing businesses – who have not received historic-based single farm payments – into the fold, but insists that this will only work if they are eligible, where appropriate, for LFASS payments too.

In order to achieve this, NFUS is urging the Scottish Government to open discussions on so-called ‘rebasing’ of LFASS with the EU Commission, highlighting the increased importance of LFASS to all recipients in anchoring their businesses as Scotland moves from a historic-based SFP system to an area-based one.

NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller said:

“The reformed CAP’s provisions to bring new entrants and developing businesses into the direct payments fold from 2015 is a considerable win, as is the assurance of a flexible national reserve and the option to top up new entrants’ low value entitlements.

“The potential retention of our current less favoured areas and the provision of support through LFASS until 2018 is wholly positive; it will play a considerable role in anchoring businesses that could experience big changes in direct support in the move to an area-based payment system.

“That security does not exist, however, for those businesses locked out of LFASS by the 2009 base year. New entrants and farms that have moved into eligible cattle and sheep breeding enterprises post-2009 are operating without vital LFASS payments,  an extreme challenge given ongoing economic uncertainty and the weather pressures of the past year.

“As we enter into a new phase of the CAP in Scotland, it is imperative that LFA anomaly cases are also addressed so that new and developing businesses are as eligible for Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 support as their established counterparts. Given that new Pillar 2 Areas of Natural Constraint payments may not be fully operational until 2018, this could see some businesses frozen out of a fully fair support system for up to nine years.

“LFASS must therefore be re-based for the 2013-2108 period. This would have the advantage of freeing up money from under active producers to be injected across a broad swathe of active farmers and crofters; the opportunity to include anomaly cases in this is an obvious bonus.

“Significantly it would be budget neutral for the Scottish Government in that it would not cost any more than the existing commitment upholding the its manifesto commitment to LFA support.

“At the crossroads that will lead us into the new support package for Scottish agriculture, we think that re-basing LFASS is exactly the right thing to do if we are to deliver for Scottish farming and our new generation.”

Date Published:

News Article No.: 94/13

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