25 October 2017

MSP Calls on Gove to Ensure Payments are Made to Scottish Farmers

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on the UK Government to ensure convergence uplift money is paid to Scottish farmers.

The MSP has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, for clarification on the issue.

It comes as it was revealed farmers and crofters are owed £160million in convergence uplift money which was granted to the UK by the EU in 2014 because of low area payments in Scotland.

Mr Stevenson has asked Mr Gove to confirm when and if he has spoken to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Connectivity Fergus Ewing after he had advised he would speak to him on the matter.

In his letter to Mr Gove, he said:

“I note that at a meeting of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee last month you were asked whether Defra would commit to passing on the convergence uplift money, which was granted to the UK by the EU in 2014 because of low area payments in Scotland.

“Scotland’s farmers and crofters are owed £160 million – there is no getting away from that and this money must not be tied to Brexit considerations – it is owed now and needs to be repaid now.

“However, it is also vital that the issue of low hectare payments in Scotland is sorted, or our farmers and crofters will continue to be short-changed in any post-Brexit funding settlement.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This money rightly belongs to Scottish farmers and it should be returned to them immediately.

“They have been left with an unfair playing field and the amount farmers receive throughout the UK are not comparable levels of payments for their hard work.

“I have written to Mr Gove to make sure this money is not tied to Brexit negotiations.”

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