Conservatives must ensure payment of £130 million of Scottish farmers money.
English Scots for YES D&G Regional organiserJohn Schofield has called on Alister Jack MP and David Mundell MP to ensure immediately that the Westminster government pass on to Holyrood £160 million of EU funding of direct farm payments, sent from Brussels to the UK, specifically to help Scottish hill farmers.
This dispute over the subsidies began over five years ago in 2013 , when the European Commission allocated the UK an extra £190 million of funding over six years. The money – known as convergence uplift – was aimed at addressing the low payments received by Scottish farmers, and Scottish farmers only, under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It was not intended at all for Welsh, English or Northern Irish farmers, who have been receiving much higher payments.
However, the UK Government decided all four home nations would share this extra funding between them, meaning Scotland has only been allocated £30 million of the extra £190 million cash.
John Schofield said “The UK only qualified for £190 million of additional funding because of Scotland’s low payment rate per hectare, which brought the UK below the qualifying threshold. This money belongs to Scotland, to help Dumfries and Galloway farmers who had previously been under-funded and it should be paid, along with compound interest, to hill farmers as they are the intended and rightful recipients. Other farmers in the home nations have not been underfunded in the past as has our local farmers in Dumfries and Galloway.
English Scots for YES National Convenor Math Campbell-Sturgess commented “to withhold this money and to additionally insult elected Scottish MP’s in the House of Commons who raise this matter as ‘grievance-mongering separatists’ is an absolute disgrace. The promise that Scotland would be respected in the Union has been shown time and time again to be nonsense, even with straightforward matters such as this. Dumfries and Galloway farmers cannot and must not be a cash cow for Westminster. The farming community must not let our local Conservative MP’s off the hook on this vitally important matter, which could mean the survival or otherwise of small farms in our region.”