The importance of EU subsidies to rural businesses in the Borders has been underlined by new data published by the UK government.
The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has revealed that payments worth nearly £54m were disbursed in the region in the 12 months to October 15, 2014.
The payments cover a range of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support to secure jobs, encourage tourism and environmental projects and promote afforestation on agricultural land as well as the most common subsidy via the single area payment scheme.
“The UK Government remains committed to full transparency in the use of public funds, including the publication of details about all payments made under the CAP,” states DEFRA’s website.
Thus every CAP subsidy paid to farm businesses is listed by post code with the TD5 area (Kelso) revealed as the biggest beneficiary with £10.3m disbursed, followed by TD11 (Duns) with £8.3m and TD9 (Hawick) with £7.9m.
“There is no doubt farmers in the Borders depend and benefit hugely from CAP payments and they will clearly be concerned about what will happen to these important subsidies in the event of a ‘no’ vote in the referendum on EU membership,” said Borders MP Calum Kerr, the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson on rural affairs.
However, Mr Kerr said he and his party would continue to fight for a better CAP deal for Scottish farmers after the decision of the UK Government in 2013 not to pass on the so-called convergence uplift of €230m to Scotland.
“We need a fair and secure deal for our vital rural economy which already has some of the lowest CAP allocations in Europe,” he added. “That is why I am delighted the government will look again at EU convergence uplift payments.”
WHERE THE BIGGER SUBSIDIES WENT
Galashiels (TD1) - total payments £3.51m, including L. G. Litchfield (£378,366) and William Montgomery (£195,477).
Lauder (TD2) - £2.26m, including William Barr & Co. (£190,388) and Firm of Sutherland (£183,517).
Gordon (TD3) - £2.14m, including J. & T. MacFarlane (£736,918) and G. McDougall (£338,385).
Earlston (TD4) - £1.29m, including Fans Farming (£235,614) and J. W. Fullarton & Sons (£225,597).
Kelso (TD5) - £10.30m, including Floors Farming (£329,949) and T. W. & T. B. Edgar (£328,470).
Melrose/St Boswells (TD6) - £2.61m, including Mertoun Estates (£201,924) and Maxwell of Faughhill (£162,145).
Hawick (TD9) - £7.94m, including H. & M. Farms (£250,219) and W. R. Girvan of Berryfell (£180,449).
Duns (TD10) - £1.88m, including J. C. & K. C. Constable (£195,643) and John Mitchell & Co. (£166,192).
Duns (TD11) - £8.29m, including MacFarlane Farms (£413,594) and R. & J. McDonald (£321,420).
Coldstream/Cornhill (TD12) - £1.25m, including S. & D. Blaylock (£134,141) and C. A. Ramsay (£122,869).
Cockburnspath (TD13) - £593,476, including J. P. H. Wight (£161,767).
Eyemouth (TD14) - £1.82m, including J. Fullarton & Son (£134,317) and P. T. Edmonson (£106,206).
Peebles (EH45) - £2.39m, including J. P. Campbell (£352,656) and Glenrath Farms (£130,134).