The Scottish Government has been criticised for the way it is dispersing the Convergence Funds to farmers and crofters.
Local MSP Rhoda Grant, Labour, has claimed that the assessment of who is to be eligible has been rushed.
“This money was given to the UK because our Scottish farmers and crofters received less than 90% of the EU average rate per hectare.
“Yet when I asked the Cabinet Secretary how many Scottish farmers and Crofters would still receive less than 90% of the EU rate and how many would receive in excess of it after this money was dispersed he was unable to answer me, instead pointing me to average figures.”
“Mr Fergus Ewing said that the SNP uses the information from farmers and crofters who currently claim under the CAP payment system, but that assessing the benefits to individual recipients was “impossible.
“Despite being in a fight with the UK government for 6 years to receive this money, the Scottish Government appears to have been totally unprepared for how to fairly ensure the funding reaches the most vulnerable areas in our agricultural sector. That’s poor planning and completely ignores the views that were expressed with their consultations within the sector.”
In answering Rhoda Grant in the Scottish Parliament, Fergus Ewing said:
” it is not possible to show individual figures. However, under the proposals, all farmers in Scotland will benefit. The information has been provided to members so that they have as much information as possible before them.
“As far as the LFASS gap is concerned, the position was set by Europe.
“Members will recall that, following a consultation in 2016, it was agreed between stakeholders and ministers that, in the short term, the best option to provide stability for crofts in our constrained areas was to retain LFASS and that moving to an areas facing natural constraint scheme would result in redesignation of our constrained areas, which would have resulted in the redistribution of funding across Scotland. That was perhaps why stakeholders and ministers agreed not to proceed in that way in 2016.”