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Union Calls for Support Payment Flexibility

NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Government calling for a more flexible payment system to be factored into future support payment arrangements.

The Scottish Government has a good track record in prompt delivery of key support payments including Single Farm Payment (SFP) and Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS).  However, a small number of SFP payments remain outstanding and the Union would welcome an examination of current arrangements to see if these can be fine-tuned to help those still waiting on SFP.

In addition, given that reform of the CAP has the potential to bring increased complexity to schemes, NFU Scotland also believes it is appropriate that work starts now on systems that could deliver part payment if required in the future, thus preserving cash flow onto farms.

NFUS is urging the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to this request and open a dialogue with Europe that would ensure the appropriate provisions could be put in place.  Writing to Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller said:

“The 2011-2012 SFP payment run has, once again, been largely successful for the majority of Scottish farm businesses but beneath the positive headline figures there have been delays in payments to a minority of claimants.

“For many of those still to receive their SFP, delays have been related to re-mapping procedures and inspection processes and, as a result, these have created cash flow issues for some businesses. The efforts of SGRPID to process these outstanding payments are appreciated.

“As many of those businesses still to receive SFP were those that responded positively to calls to update mapping to ensure eligible claims, we need to look at if we can improve on the current arrangements.  CAP Reform gives us an opportunity to look and see if we can develop a more flexible payment system.

“Providing all the eligibility checks have been made, provision does exist within the existing rules governing SFP payments that may allow a paying agency such as SGRPID to either bring forward the payment window to an earlier start date than 1 December or pay out SFP in two separate installments.

“We are urging the Scottish Government to discuss with the European Commission the potential to make advance payments when delivering both SFP and LFASS. Such an option would provide flexibility that is likely to be increasingly important as we move into a more volatile and complex operating environment for Scotland’s farmers and crofters. 

“To complement advanced payments, we would also like to work with SGRPID to enable better prioritisation of any SFP claims cases that are outstanding.  This approach could also include tracking of cases within the system so those awaiting payment could receive better information as to the status of their claim and the likely timeframe for receipt of payment.  Taken together, this could provide for far better SFP customer service from SGRPID.”

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

 

 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 08/12


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