6 October 2000
Independent IACS appeals for Scots

By Shelley Wright

SCOTLANDS farmers will, from November, have the chance to appeal to an independent panel if they have a grievance over IACS claims.

Ross Finnie, Scottish rural affairs minister, announced on Wed that the new appeals procedure would be up and running for the main IACS schemes by 9 November.

“One of the key aims of the appeals procedure is to provide clarity and transparency in the decision making process, and to provide farmers with a second opinion in cases where they feel that a wrong decision has been made under EU rules,” Mr Finnie said.

Although initially the panel will deal only with IACS claims, Mr Finnie added that the aim was to extend its remit from 1 January, 2001 to cover other payments administered by the Scottish Executive, such as agri-environment schemes.

An advert for the positions earlier this year resulted in 145 applicants.

After interviewing 41, a pool of 17 has now been appointed.

Each case is likely to involve three or four members from this pool.

For years farmers across the UK have complained that civil servants acted as judge, jury and often executioner when it came to disputes over subsidy claims.

Establishing an independent appeals panel in Scotland was one of the first commitments given by the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration when the Scottish Parliament was established last year.