3 May 2000
Scots hill money delays denied
By Shelley Wright
CIVIL servants in Edinburgh are playing down suggestions that there could be delays in Scotland to next years subsidy payments for hill farmers.
Jim Walker, Scottish NFU president, said he was increasingly concerned at the lack of progress in switching from headage payments to an area-based system.
“There is a whole series of problems with the proposals, not least the whole basis of the area calculation and how that will be brought into effect,” he said.
The union was still extremely worried about the potential redistribution of support payments to farmers in hills which are designated Less Favoured Areas (LFAs).
“Producers may well find that their payments next spring could be delayed if this isnt agreed,” said Mr Walker.
But a Scottish Executive official insisted that all the EU Commission had asked for was some additional detail to support the proposal already submitted.
He said the executive was confident of getting a new scheme approved, although that would not be before 30 June.
But there was certainly no reason to think that next years payments, traditionally sent to farmers in February, would be delayed.