It has been revealed that the Borders branch of the Rural Payments and Inspections division has one of the highest number of outstanding CAP payments due to farmers in Scotland.
Ninety-two farmers using the office are still waiting on either part or whole subsidy payments, with just over 700 due funding across the rest of Scotland. The figures have been published in response to a Parliamentary Question from Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith.
Last week, Fergus Ewing admitted that there were ongoing issues with the IT system as he announced a new loan scheme which will allow farmers to apply for up to 80% of their 2016 CAP payments with a view to payment in November. These payments were due in December 2015.
News that more Borders farmers are waiting on payments than anywhere else follows statistics showing Scottish farmers are at their most indebted with bank debt now totalling £2.2 billion.
John Lamont MSP said: “Farming is central to the Borders economy and it is very disappointing to learn that more farmers in this region, are waiting on subsidy payments compared to anywhere else in the country.
“Although this number represents a relatively small 6% of all eligible applicants, we must remember that these funds are normally paid in December, of last year and have been promised time and time again by the Scottish Government.
“Farm debt is at record levels across Scotland and the failure to pay subsidies on time has undoubtedly contributed to and exacerbated the problem.
“The Scottish Government must work harder to ensure the disaster of 2016 is not repeated next year and that starts by fulfilling outstanding payments to farmers in the Borders.”