FARMERS IN MORAY and throughout Scotland have been “let down” by the Rural Affairs minister and Moray MSP, Richard Lochhead.
That is the view being expressed by local councillor and Tory candidate in the Scottish Elections next year, Douglas Ross.
Councillor Ross claims that the farming community are set to receive their crucial CAP payments up to four months later than usual after the SNP admitted it would not be able to process the money on time.
That has prompted Councillor Ross to comment: “Richard Lochhead was given the responsibility of designing a CAP regime specifically designed for Scottish needs by the UK Government.
“The SNP Government commissioned a purpose-built computer system that cost £100 million more than its original estimate and now totals £10,000 per payment application.
“The announcement this week from the Scottish Government that a quarter of farmers will receive 70% of their payment in December with the rest having to wait until January, February or March simply confirms that there have been enormous problems with the verification part of the claims.”
Claiming that Mr Lochhead was warned about the situation months ago, Mr Ross added that individual farmers will now be paying the price for his failings.
He added: “The farming sector is experiencing very difficult economic times as we all know, but many farmers will now be at the mercy of their banks to see them through the weeks and months ahead until their basic payments drop through the letter box.
“Extra borrowing will be required and will not come cheap, and all that is down to the incompetent stewardship of the Scottish Government.”