Scotland’s farming communities are owed an apology from the First Minister and her rural affairs secretary over the latest CAP fiasco, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
It has been confirmed that the Scottish Government has asked Europe for an extension in processing crucial Common Agricultural Policy payments, even though both Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing had previously denied this.
Now they’ve been accused of treating Holyrood with “utter contempt” and not being up front with the farmers impacted by the failures.
At First Minister’s Questions last Thursday, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson piled the pressure on the SNP over another delay in CAP payments.
Even though the deadline for processing all payments is the 30th of June, there are still thousands of famers waiting for much-needed cash.
As such, Scottish Government officials have asked the European Commission for that deadline to be extended to mid-October, or they face fines of up to £60 million.
Scottish Conservatives Farming Spokesman Finlay Carson said:
“Nicola Sturgeon and Fergus Ewing have some very serious questions to answer.
“We now know that last week, they went cap in hand to the European Commission to plea for the payment deadline to be extended.
“But, when confronted in parliament over whether they had done, they ducked and dived and avoided the question.
“In addition, we also learn today that Mr Ewing failed to let farming leaders know what he was doing – again in order to avoid scrutiny.
“By failing to make their position clear when they had the chance, the First Minister and the rural affairs secretary treated parliament with utter contempt and they should apologise immediately.
“And by failing to be clear with farming leaders, it’s clear that Fergus Ewing has lost the confidence of many people in rural Scotland – and he should be considering his position.
“This episode has been a disgrace and has exposed the SNP for what it is: secretive, out of touch, and all at sea. Scotland deserves better.”