NFU Scotland calls for CAP rule change

NFU Scotland has proposed changing CAP rules in 2013 to allow for setting a new base year for Single Farm Payments which would sort out the major anomalies of unsupported new entrants and subsidised inactive farmers.

The union believes the so-called “rebasing” should happen ahead of a slow transition to an area based payment system over the following seven years.

With members complaining bitterly that the current proposals for a sudden change to area payments in 2013 would destabilise the industry, union president Jim McLaren told the NFUS’ annual meeting in St Andrews that farmers needed to buy time.

He said that setting a new base year for SFP founded on 2009 IACS returns and beef and sheep data would solve the major discrepancies in the current system.

But Brian Pack, the man charged by the Scottish Government with finding the optimum post-2013 agricultural support formula for the country described it as a “political fix that no right thinking industry would want to see as a long term solution.”

His heavily criticised interim report on the future of support has proposed a guillotine change to area based payments in 2013.

“Rebasing would be a cop out,” he said. “We don’t want a distraction from future policy and it would be unfortunate if folk thought that was a solution.

“We mustn’t take our eye off the ball on what future support we need for Scotland because the system we’ve got now is broke and gets more broke with every year that passes. We can no longer defend it.”