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Mapping Problems Lead to Call For Support Scheme Window to be Extended

NFU Scotland will request that Scottish Government extend the application window for applying to vital CAP support schemes.

If agreed, it would be the second successive year where problems around the IT system installed by Scottish Government to deliver new CAP schemes have merited an extension to the deadline.  

The current deadline for farmers and crofters to submit their 2016 Single Application Forms (SAF) is 16 May.  Feedback received by the Union from members and farm consultants is that the IT application system has improved in the past 12 months but that many applicants are currently unable to submit their 2016 claim as they have yet to receive the necessary updated maps for their business from Scottish Government.  

A recent statement from the European Commission, granting Member States the discretion to extend the application window again this year recognised that other nations continue to have similar problems delivering the new CAP schemes.

The decision to formally request an extension was taken at a meeting of NFU Scotland’s Board of Directors today (5 May) at the Rural Centre, Ingliston and it will be discussed with Scottish Government officials tomorrow.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “We had hoped that the deeply flawed £180 million IT system installed to deliver new CAP schemes would have improved to the extent that an extension to the application window would not have been necessary.

“While the majority report that the application process is improved, many members have yet to receive the up-to-date maps for their farms from Scottish Government needed to make their 2016 claim and time must be allowed for that to happen.

“We will discuss an application extension with Scottish Government officials tomorrow (6 May).

“With Scottish Parliamentary elections taking place today (5 May), the expectation is that Scotland will know who it’s new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs will be within the next few days.  Given the tight timing, we would want an extension to the SAF application window to be a leading item for the Cabinet Secretary’s consideration.

“Successfully completing and submitting a SAF application is the primary route to Scottish farmers and crofters accessing almost £600 million in funds that are the cornerstone in supporting our food and farming sectors, our fragile rural economies and securing huge environmental benefits from our landscape.

“Despite an investment of £178 million in an IT delivery system, what emerged in 2015 and the early part of 2016 was a debacle that saw severe problems with the application process and a system for payments and approval that is still struggling to cope.

“Lobbying by NFU Scotland secured a national pot of funding to assist farmers but the IT system is still toiling to approve all applications made in 2015 and deliver the balance payments that are still outstanding.

“In order to fill the hole that remains in the rural economy, we will be looking for the new Government to finish what it started and deliver outstanding payments to all farmers.  As a Union, we will be looking for the new Government to provide a guarantee that in 2016 there will be no repeat of the failings seen in 2015 and a clear timetable for support payment delivery this year is quickly established and adhered to.”   

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 112/16


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