In Scotland, where the CAP delivers £650m of support, reaction focused on welcoming a meaningful link between support and activity through the area payment system.

The introduction of area payments will mark a significant change here from the current historically based Single Farm Payment arrangement.

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “The link between support and activity is hugely important for Scotland if we are to avoid a limited budget being devoured by the 1.5m hectares of unfarmed or abandoned land in the country. 

“We will look into how payment goes to farmed areas and not empty land.”

He added that there would need to be “serious consideration” given as to how the area payment system approach played out across Scotland if it was to properly recognise farming activity across the whole country. 

Scottish Tenant Farmers chairman Angus McCall underlined his sector’s fears that the commission would focus area payments on actively farmed land rather than the working farmer, thereby denying tenants of support and jeopardizing the entire sector which currently accounts for 30% of Scottish land.

Mr McCall said: “Scotland’s tenancy system is unique and already doubts over the focus of area payments means we are starting to see tenancies being abruptly ended.

“The future of new entrants hangs in the balance. Now that the leaks have been confirmed we will have to work extremely hard to get the right result in Europe.”
 
Scottish MEP George Lyon added that from a Scottish perspective the plus points were the plans to stamp out the slipper brigade, help for young farmers and more targeted support at producers in LFA areas who really need it.

He added: “There will be deep concerns, however, about the threat to CAP payments and how the changeover to area payments in 2014 will actually work.

“This will lead to great uncertainty in the industry as farmers try to work out what their future support payments will be.


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