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04/04/14 12:51

CAP decisions challenged

Rural Affairs Secretary writes to EU Commissioner and UK Ministers.

Scotland has been denied the ability to direct more than a quarter of a billion pounds of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding towards priority areas of Scottish agriculture.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has written to EU Commissioner Ciolos and UK Ministers to highlight the impact on Scotland of the recent European U-turn over a higher Scottish rate of coupled support and the UK Government's decision to withhold from Scotland the full £190 million convergence uplift.

Mr Lochhead said:

“The unexplained U-turn on a higher Scottish rate of coupled support by Commissioner Ciolos means it will be much more difficult than it should be for me to implement the new CAP in Scotland in a way that addresses the distinct needs of Scottish farming.

“I have now written to the Commissioner to request an urgent immediate meeting about this matter as his complete turnaround has denied Scotland the option of targeting an additional £110 million from our own CAP budget to supporting our livestock sector.

“This is, of course, on top of the £190 million in convergence uplift monies that the UK Government refused to pass on in full to Scottish farmers – which then offered Scotland the use of the UK’s flexibility on coupled support as a concession for that unacceptable decision.

“The ability to address Scottish priorities is clearly hampered through CAP regulations that were negotiated by the UK based on UK priorities. UK Ministers have run roughshod throughout this whole process, trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Scottish farmers, while protecting their Treasury budgets.

“As it stands, over a quarter of a billion pounds that could have been directed into the priority areas of Scottish agriculture cannot be, which is an absolute travesty.

“Therefore I have also written to Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael asking them to make good on their coupled support pledge and to revisit their outrageous and morally wrong decision to withhold the full convergence uplift from Scotland.”

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