Publication - FOI/EIR release

Agriculture & Rural Economy Directorate - staff costs, Pillar 1, 2 subsidization: FOI release

Published: 15 Apr 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
15 Apr 2019
Agriculture & Rural Economy Directorate - staff costs, Pillar 1, 2 subsidization: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00813
Date received: 18 Mar 2019
Date responded: 11 Apr 2019
Information requested

You asked for:
· The total number of FTE staff and total cost (£GBP) of the Agriculture Directorate.
· The total number of FTE staff and total cost of (GPB) of the Rural Payments & Inspection division.
· The total cost (£GBP) of administration of Pillar 1 direct payment farming subsidies in Scotland and total amount of (£GBP) pillar 1 farming subsidies administered by the Scottish Agriculture Directorate.
· The total cost (£GBP) of administration of Pillar 2, SRDP subsidies in Scotland and total amount of (£GBP) SRDP subsidies administered by the Scottish Agriculture Directorate.
· The total staff renumeration costs, salaries/pensions etc., of the Agriculture Directorate.

Response

The total number of FTE staff in the Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate is 1,016 as at end of February 2019. The total budgeted expenditure for 2019-20 is £63.2m (excluding centrally recharged overheads).

The total number of FTE staff in the Rural Payments & Inspections divisions is 620 as at end of February 2019. The total budgeted expenditure for 2019-20 is £31.1m (excluding centrally recharged overheads).

The Scottish Government does not hold a specific breakdown of the information requested regarding the cost of administration of pillar 1 and pillar 2 farming subsidies. The total operating costs of the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) and Information Systems Division (ISD) are budgeted to be £48.1m in 2019-20. Staff in these divisions undertake a wide range of activities including making payments, application processing, claim validation, inspections, field mapping, financial monitoring and accounting, audit and compliance, advice and guidance to the sector, policy development, communications and training, and administering and supporting IT. Many of these activities are a result of European Commission regulations which stipulate requirements to ensure we retain our ability to administer the funds detailed below.

The total value of farm and land management support is estimated at around £623m for 2019-20, comprised of £438m for pillar 1 (100% funded by the European Union) and £185m for pillar 2 (£117m funded by the European Union).
Pillar 1 payments include:
· The Basic Payment Scheme which acts as a safety net for farmers and crofters by supplementing their main business income.
· A Greening payment to improve the environmental performance of farming. This takes the form of a payment 'for agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and environment' to be paid on top of the Basic Payment Scheme from 2015.
· ‘Coupled’ support for beef suckler cows and sheep in certain areas. These payments will help the environmental and social benefits that arise from extensive beef suckler herds and sheep flocks in Scotland.

‘Pillar 2’ of the CAP takes the form of a rural development programme which funds a mixture of farm and non-farm schemes, co-financed with EU and national money. Over the 2014-20 period Scotland will receive €840 million for Pillar 2 from the EU. The total Pillar 2 budget, including SG funds and a transfer from Pillar 1 at 9.5% is around £1.26bn.
The key purpose of the SRDP is to help achieve sustainable economic growth in Scotland’s rural areas. This is done through a range of grant schemes that deliver the main priorities of:
· Enhancing the rural economy
· Supporting agricultural and forestry businesses
· Protecting and improving the natural environment
· Addressing the impact of climate change
· Supporting rural communities

The total pay budget for 2019-20 for the Agriculture and Rural Economy directorate is £49.1m. This includes salaries, employers’ national insurance and pensions costs.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG