“Scottish hill farmers are owed £160 million, which the UK Government has repeatedly failed to return to Scotland – where it was earned. Without Scotland, the UK would not have received an extra penny,” Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government told the Scottish Parliament.
The UK qualifies for a rural payments uplift because of Scotland, whose per hectare rate is only 45% of the EU average. England, Wales and Northern Ireland are all above the 90% qualifying threshold. The uplift is worth £190 million and is intended to redistribute CAP funding more equitably.
Scottish Hill Farmers have only been allocated £30 million with the rest being distributed across the UK.
Fergus Ewing said:
“The EU clearly intended this money to go to the farmers who receive the least amount of support, yet the UK has simply pocketed the money. Frankly, the money should be returned.”
“This demand is not against farmers in other parts of the UK. It is about setting a baseline for future agricultural funding with the UK. Unless the UK Government returns the money, how can we rely on them to treat our farmers fairly in Brexit negotiations and future funding discussions.”