Lochhead has lost his grip on farm payment

Lochhead has lost his grip on farm payment.

Photo taken April 2015 at NFU hustings, Lochter. Farmers were deeply frustrated with payment plan, now they are FURIOUS!

The Scottish Government has admitted thousands of farmers are going to have to wait even longer to receive vital payments.

Environment minister Richard Lochhead conceded in Holyrood today that the vast majority are still waiting to get CAP payments, despite the fact the SNP was supposed to deliver them by December.

Responding to a question from the Scottish Conservatives, he said, just one in three had received their initial payments, with others not even knowing when they will get theirs.

The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly put pressure on the Scottish Government to explain to farmers why the crucial payments have been delayed.

Scottish Conservative MEP Ian Duncan said:

The Scottish Government has badly mishandled this whole episode, and it is Scottish farmers who are being left to pick up the pieces.

The Cabinet Secretary is quick to pass the buck, but he cannot escape the fact that it is on his watch that this crisis has been allowed to develop.

In September the EU allowed the Scottish Government to make early payments to farmers, only requiring that computer admin checks be conducted. We now know that the Irish Government took advantage of this flexibility.

The Scottish Government had October and November to do this too. What we now know is that the Mr Lochhead's computer system was not working then, and is not working now.

Mr Lochhead's incompetence meant that a golden opportunity to get money into the hands of farmers was lost.

Despite this, a combination of bad management and the shambles of the computer system means most farmers are still waiting for their payment, with many having no idea when they will receive the money.

It is high time Richard Lochhead started taking responsibility for the situation and got on top of this issue.