Rural Issues in Scotland


Latest news on CAP direct payments in the News section below.
 

Rural Scotland, covering 95 per cent of the land area and 18 per cent of the population, is an integral part of the country's economy, environment and culture. The Scottish Government's aim is to promote development in rural areas and empower communities.

The Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) is a programme of economic, environmental and social measures, worth some £1.2 billion, designed to develop rural Scotland.

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Rural Payments and Services Planned Maintenance

To help minimise disruption to customers, we have now allocated a regular slot for planned maintenance of the Rural Payments and Services website. This will take place every Tuesday and Thursday evening between 21:00 and midnight, and Rural Payments and Services will not be available during these times. There may be occasional exceptions to this, such as when we need to apply urgent fixes– but, as always, we will seek to minimise service disruption wherever possible.

Farm payment application extension

Farmers and crofters will have an extra month to complete form.

The Scottish deadline for farmers and crofters to submit their Single Application Form (SAF) has been extended, under flexibility from the EU, until June 15, 2015.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead today confirmed the Scottish Government will allow farmers to benefit from the flexibility announced by the EU and expected to be approved next week, given the concerns raised by farmers and crofters about the complexity of the new system.

The Scottish Government will make every effort to stick to the payment schedule. Mr Lochhead has highlighted that we need Europe to give flexibility on the inspection regime that has already been asked for by member states.

Technical experts are continuing work to fix issues with the new Rural Payments and Services online system as quickly as possible after they have been raised.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Delivery of the new CAP is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government. The system is complex and has presented significant challenges in Scotland and across Europe – as shown by Commissioner Hogan’s announcement that a four week extension to the application window would be allowed.

“Having carefully considered all of the options, consulted widely with those involved in agriculture in Scotland and taking into account the hard work going on behind the scenes to maximise the performance of our online system, I have decided to extend the Scottish application window by a month until the 15th of June, subject to the approval of EU legislation which is expected next week.

“As part of our efforts to make payments as soon as possible we will look at all flexibilities permitted within the EU rules and I strongly encourage the EU to give additional flexibility, particularly around the inspection regime which has already been called for by other member states.

“Of course, paper copies of the forms have always been and continue to be available to farmers and crofters. We will also continue to respond to reports of issues with the IT system as quickly as we can and liaise regularly with industry representatives to ensure the views of farmers and crofters are taken on board every step of the way.”