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Some farmers and crofters waiting on payments

AROUND 30 farmers and crofters in Shetland are still waiting for subsidies from the Scottish Government from last year’s round of funding, according to isles MSP Tavish Scott.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats said a total of 492 farmers and crofters across Scotland are still waiting on basic Common Agricultural Payment funding.

It is has been a familiar tale over recent years after the government suffered problems with a new £178 million IT system designed to administer payments in Scotland.

“Crofters and farmers rely on this funding to plan ahead. It is wrong that 30 businesses across Shetland are still waiting to receive the money they are entitled to,” Scott said.

“The government has no excuse but to ensure that this ridiculous situation is resolved quickly and that no business is left struggling. The government spent £178 million on a computer system to make agriculture payments to 14,000 businesses. And it does not work. That is an unacceptable waste of public money.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said that while over 95 per cent of payments were made ahead of the June deadline, “as in any year there are a number of complex cases that take longer than anticipated to resolve and may require additional confirmation from the farmer or crofter”.

“We aim to resolve these more complex cases as quickly as possible, and are continuing to support Scottish farmers affected by adverse weather conditions with advance payments,” they continued.

More than 95.24 per cent of CAP pillar one payments were made ahead of the payment deadline, with £393.3 million paid to around 17,423 eligible applicants through the Basic Payment Scheme, Greening and Young Farmer schemes.