Fears over changes to CAP for local farmers

Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy will support Scottish farmers and improve the way EU payments are distributed, according to a Scottish government announcement.

But fears have been raised about the content of the changes, which include the removal of payments for so-called “slipper farmers”, who do not use land for agricultural purposes.

MSP Alex Fergusson said following the announcement that changes to EU subsidies could cost farmers in south west Scotland £90m.

He said: “Given the complexity of the change from a historic-based system to an area-based system in a country as geographically diverse as Scotland, I welcome the overall structure for CAP support announced today.

“The cabinet secretary has done his best to target the most resource at the highest levels of activity, and he is right to do so, but the fact remains that some 75 million euros will be removed from the local economy in Dumfries and Galloway over the next 4 to 5 years. That is a serious blow, and I have asked that all Scottish Governments do what they can to help mitigate against the worst impacts of these changes when making policy decisions.

“As always the devil will be in the detail, and there is a great deal of detail that is still to be announced as these changes are taken forward. As my party’s Rural Affairs Spokesman, I will be monitoring that detail closely as it is revealed.

“One thing is clear - much as the Scottish Government likes to land the blame for all its woes on the UK Government, the time has come for that to stop.

“The UK negotiated and delivered the ability for the Scottish Government to introduce a scheme that was tailor-made for Scotland.

“Any failings of these reforms will be down to the SNP alone, and playing the blame game has no future. Scotland’s farmers deserve better than that from their Scottish Government.”