Orkney MSP Liam McArthur today called on the Scottish Government to write to all farmers with up to date information on where they stand following the farm payments debacle last year.
It appears that payments are still outstanding to some farmers and crofters in Orkney, while even those who have been paid are not always clear about the basis on which the calculations have been made.
Speaking in portfolio questions today, Orkney’s MSP urged the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, to ensure that not only are 2017 payments made on a timely basis but that a line is drawn under the debacle from last year. Mr McArthur called on the Cabinet Secretary to write to all farmers “explaining the payments that have been made and any outstanding amounts that may still be due.”
Following the exchanges, Mr McArthur said:
“The Scottish Government badly mishandled farm payments last year. The delays were costly, not just for farmers and crofters but also more widely for supply chain businesses in communities such as Orkney.
“While most of the payments have now been made, there is still work to be done to clear up the mess from 2016. Some payments remain outstanding, while even those who have been paid are unclear as to how the calculations have been made.
"To end this confusion, the Minister should now instruct officials to write out to all farmers and crofters confirming what payments have been made and how these have been calculated. Where further payments are due, these also need to be explained and urgent steps taken to ensure monies are paid out.
“The farming community needs reassurance that lessons have been learned following last year’s debacle. Providing farmers and crofters with up to date payment information is an important part of helping make this happen. I will therefore be writing to the Minister asking him to agree to this request.”