MSP welcomes timely payments of SFP

The Scottish Government announced last week almost three-quarters of people eligible for single farm payments (SFP) would start to receive their money from last Thursday.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said at least 70 per cent of payments would be made before December 16.

The SNP MSP for south of Scotland Paul Wheelhouse, who is also parliamentary liaison officer to Mr Lochhead, said: “The single farm payments are vital for Borders farmers as they provide a boost, not only for the farms themselves but also the whole local rural economy. Knowing these payments will be made timely and with a new online viewing platform should bring some comfort to farmers.

“Should any farmers have any issues with their single farm payments they should contact the Galashiels SGRPID office on 01896 892400 or by emailing SGRPID.Galashiels@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.”

Under European regulations, SFP can be made between December 1 and June 30.

NFU Scotland’s head of policy, Jonnie Hall, welcomed the prompt payments but hopes, with CAP reform looming and support moving to an area-based payment, the government will start work early on making sure changes in support arrangements don’t disrupt the payment timetable.

“As we start to work towards a CAP reform deal for 2013 and beyond, it will be a real challenge to retain the simplicity attached to the successful delivery of the current SFP in Scotland,” he said.

“The move to an area-based support system, with a likely transition phase, means that work on an effective, robust delivery programme needs to start as soon as possible if the difficulties others have experienced delivering area-based payments are to be avoided.”