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  By Martin Kelly
 
A Scottish MEP has said he is "beyond angry" after learning that the UK Government plans to withhold EU cash that was supposed to go to Scottish farmers.
 
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has reacted angrily to news that the UK government has today (Friday) announced that it will not pass on hundreds of millions of pounds in EU agriculture payments to Scotland which only accrue to the UK because of Scotland's unique agriculture.

The shock decision comes despite a cross party call from Scottish politicians at Holyrood, including the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem parties as well as the Scottish government, for the payment to be passed on. 

A furious Mr Smith said:

"I'm beyond angry at this remarkable decision, I had in my naivety taken it to be a foregone conclusion, especially after the very sensible cross party consensus at Holyrood united to fight Scotland's corner."

The money, amounting to almost a quarter of a billion euros over the next seven years, accrues purely because of the poor Common Agriculture Budget allocation awarded to Scotland's farmers.  The decision will see Scottish farming losing out on €60million a year until 2020, some €230million in funds to which they are objectively entitled.

The MEP added: "I don't use phrases like 'slap in the face' or 'treating Scotland with contempt', but it is difficult to dress this one up as anything else.  This money only comes to the UK because of Scotland's poor CAP budget allocation, and to see the funds go elsewhere - a badger goalpost moving cull perhaps! - is an outrage.

"Scotland's farmers are entitled to this money.  The EU allocated the budget to our member state government in order to rectify the situation we have in Scotland.  It is being withheld, I'll do my utmost to reverse this dreadful decision and I call upon all of Scotland's politicians to continue our cross party efforts to fight Scotland's corner."

The decision is a snub to the Scottish Parliament after a cross party letter was sent to the UK Government in October.

Addressed to the UK Government's Rural Affairs Secretary Owen Paterson and copied to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, the cross-party letter followed a debate in the Scottish Parliament where MSPs agreed that the UK's full uplift should come to Scotland in its entirety.

The letter was signed by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment; Claire Baker, Rural Affairs Spokesperson for Scottish Labour; Alex Fergusson, Rural Affairs Spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives; and Tavish Scott, Rural Affairs Spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The letter stated:

"We are writing to express cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament on an issue relating to the imminent decision on the within-UK allocation of the UK's CAP budget receipts for 2014 to 2020: namely, the need for the UK's external convergence receipts under CAP Pillar 1 to be allocated to Scotland.

"These receipts only exist because of Scotland's current position. All other parts of the UK are above the threshold set by the EU for external convergence, and it is only because of Scotland's extremely low average level of Pillar 1 payments per hectare that the UK as a whole fell below the threshold and qualified for an external convergence uplift. Passing on this uplift to Scotland will also not entail any deductions at all for farming colleagues in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

"The European methodology focussed entirely on per-hectare levels of payment, and the within-UK decision must be on the same basis.

"It is helpful that the European Commission has quantified the uplift precisely, so that it is possible to know exactly how much funding is involved and avoid any risk of cutting into funding which should correctly go to farmers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"We urge you to acknowledge that the only fair outcome on the external convergence funding is for it to come to Scotland, the only part of the UK to be below the EU's threshold. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss this important subject."

 

Comments  

 
# creigs1707repeal 2013-11-08 17:37
Scotland surely is 'better together' when ALL of our political parties in Holyrood are united against this dreadful decision by Westminster. I wonder what Westminster's rationale was for not passing on this cash to Scottish farmers?
 
 
# Jo Bloggs 2013-11-11 15:12
With apologies to Irvine Welsh: "Rationale? There is no rationale. Who needs rationale, when you have power?"
 
 
# sayyes 2013-11-08 17:45
This is shocking arrogance from Westminster. Showing their utter contempt for our farmers,crofter s and for our MSP's.
 
 
# bringiton 2013-11-08 17:47
You might think that they are encouraging Scottish resentment and doing it deliberately.
 
 
# call me dave 2013-11-08 17:49
Y'know the more you scrape away the thin veneer of 'better together' the more inequitable the financial arrangements seem to be. Deep pockets filled with many money streams all directed into the UK coffers to be doled out as pocket money.

Time to cut the apron strings because, as in the normal world, your better looking after yer ain!
 
 
# mealer 2013-11-08 18:15
This is a disgraceful act of vindictiveness by Westminster.If Scotland votes YES our farmers will receive what theyre entitled to,rather than getting the lowest per hectare payment in the EU.And that money wont be hoarded away in bank accounts or stuffed into Hedge Funds(what ever the hell they are).It will be spent in the Scottish economy,spread across the country.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2013-11-08 20:01
The following is a clip showing Darling emphasizing 3 points why we are ‘better off together’ on STV 21.03.2013. His second point does not really stack up given the current circumstances.

www.youtube.com/.../

OT

I also found this clip on Utube showing JL agreeing with the YES vote

www.youtube.com/.../

Appears that the sticking plaster is coming off BT.
.
 
 
# Early Ball 2013-11-09 09:14
Good clips Roll_On especially the Darling one. If we were independent we would get the money "together" we do not.
 
 
# Leader of the Pack 2013-11-08 20:22
Bet you don't see this particular "union benefit" highlighted in the MSM.
 
 
# theycantbeserious 2013-11-08 21:42
Can Europe demand that Westminster pass the money onto Scotland? Hopefully the farmers in Scotland will now see the union in it's true light. They have always known they have been short changed but this could be that "last straw" finally convincing them that Westminster will never deliver a level playing field, and independence is the only way.

However the fear of a possible threat to land ownership in an independent Scotland may be seen as an issue!|
 
 
# Big Eye 2013-11-08 22:03
I hope the Yes campaign make sure our farmers know exactly what is going on here.
 
 
# peterm 2013-11-08 22:46
bbc.co.uk/.../...

Welsh farmers to blame of course
 
 
# its yourself 2013-11-09 07:59
I have never known my fellow farmers so bloody furious. This is a disgrace, theft pure and simple. Outrageous.
 
 
# X_Sticks 2013-11-09 10:04
I had thought the farming vote would be split, as many farmers, especially around the Perth area were very much of the british persuasion.

It looks like westminster have just delivered the majority of the farming community to the Yes vote.

As bringiton pointed out; are they doing it deliberately?
 
 
# proudscot 2013-11-09 11:12
Apparently our new Westminster's Man In Scotland, Alistair "Bruiser" Carmichael, supports this theft of EU cash from our Scottish farmers. Incredibly he claims this is a "good deal" for them.

We'd be better with Ian Davidson as SoS, at least he doesn't even pretend to be on Scotland's side in anything!
 
 
# Clydebuilt 2013-11-09 11:32
Forward this to contacts in farming community.
 
 
# independentgirl 2013-11-09 15:01
The sheer arrogance of Westminster is unbelievable. Why would we want to stay part of a so-called union? PLEASE vote YES in 2014
 
 
# rabkae 2013-11-09 20:33
What Brussels giveth, London taketh away. Since 1973 it was ever thus.
 
 
# theycantbeserious 2013-11-09 22:11
Here's the National Farmers Union Scotland's email address if you want to send the link and ask how they feel about this "better together" policy?

.uk
 
 
# Leswil 2013-11-09 22:19
No mention about this on BBC Scotland nor STV that I could find.Says it all doesn't it. I hope our farmers get the message but I think it would be brought up in FMQ's at the latest. We can expect labour to say nothing and Lamont to squirm as usual.
 

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