Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has said that there is “no end in sight to the farm payment debacle” after the Scottish Government published its "Common Agricultural Policy - Plan for Stabilisation". Commenting on the statement in parliament this afternoon by the Agriculture Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP, Mr McArthur said:
“Scottish Ministers should be embarrassed. Three years on and the £180m IT system on which the Scottish Government pinned all its hopes still shows no signs of being up to the task.
“After his appointment, the Cabinet Secretary promised he would clear up this mess. Instead he is telling farmers and crofters in Orkney, and across Scotland, that they can go on applying for loans to cover 90% of their annual CAP payment. There would be no need for a loan if the IT system worked.
“This shambles is beyond a joke. The delays have been costly, not just for farmers and crofters but also for wider supply chain businesses in communities such as Orkney.
“In the face of losing £10million a year on maintaining a broken IT system, Mr Ewing faces a dilemma. Either he can cut his losses and ditch this hapless IT system or find a way at last to fix it. If it is the latter, this has to be the last chance saloon.”
Notes to editors:
Please find attached a link to document relating to Ministerial Statement: Common Agricultural Policy - A Plan to Stabilise Future Payments.
Stabilisation Plan: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00524624.pdf
Key Dates Schedule: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00524625.pdf