Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has criticised the Scottish Government for doing “too little, too late” to deliver vital financial support to struggling farmers in the region, after they announced this week that any farmers who have not received a basic payment by the end of March will receive a government payment in April.
Across Scotland to date, only £103 million of CAP basic support has been paid out from a total budget of almost £400 million. The delays have been caused by flaws in the Scottish Governments new £180million IT system.
Speaking to Parliament in an opposition days debate on Wednesday 9th, Elaine described how struggling farmers in her Constituency have had to resort to taking loans from banks, with some on the brink of bankruptcy because they have still not received their basic payment.
“Farms across Dumfriesshire are on the absolute brink because of this Governments total incompetence on this issue. While the problems with their £180million IT system were initially pointed out nearly a year ago, they still have not been resolved and it’s farmers in our region and across Scotland who are paying the price. I’ve had local farmers describing to me how they have been forced to go to the bank and apply for loans just to keep them going, and yet the Scottish Government have been totally silent on whether or not these farmers will be compensated for the interest on these loans. Taking everything in consideration, the payment being promised by the Government in April, which will only keep farmers going for a little while, is all too little, too late.”