Fergus Ewing MSP visiting a beef farm in East LothianFergus Ewing © Chris Watt

Scottish hill farmers on average are being denied about £14,000 over a six-year period in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) convergence uplift monies, according to the Scottish government.

Under the last CAP reform, the EU set out to redistribute direct payments to bring per-hectare support up to the European average.

The UK received additional funding because Scotland’s average rate of €130/ha (£113/ha) was about 48% of the EU average, taking the UK-wide average below the threshold.

See also: SNP pledge to protect Scottish agri-food industry 

Without the Scottish rate, the UK would not have qualified for a convergence uplift.

Currently, the £190m convergence uplift payment is split between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If the full allocation had been delivered to Scotland, rather than shared across the UK, it would have been worth £190m over six years to Scottish hill farmers, or about £14,000 to individual farms.

Instead Scotland received about £30m under the UK government’s allocation.

Scottish rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Despite repeated requests, there is no evidence the UK government are taking action to deliver a fair share of the additional convergence funding to Scotland.”

‘No level playing field’

There is no level playing field for hill farmers north and south of the border, he added.

“Farmers doing the same job in different parts of the UK do not presently receive comparable levels of payments for their hard work. This money rightly belongs to Scottish farmers and should be returned to them immediately.”

Defra farm minister George Eustice has stated that discussions with the Scottish parliament about the convergence uplift money are ongoing.