CAP FUNDING RETURNED AFTER YEARS OF UK GOVERNMENT DELAY

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that island crofters and farmers will benefit from the first instalment of convergence funding – addressing an “historic injustice” which the SNP has long campaigned to put right.

The funding is the first tranche of an £160 million package the UK government has finally returned to Scottish farmers after pocketing EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding intended for Scotland since 2014.

The initial £80 million will be distributed to support active farming, with a focus on those who farm in marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“This is money that was hard fought for over many years, and I am delighted that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland has been returned.

“Scottish crofters and farmers have been short-changed by the UK government for years, and the SNP has argued long and hard for that injustice to be addressed.

“Given that this funding was awarded because of Scotland's low CAP support payment rate per hectare, it is absolutely right that it is now being directed towards those in greatest need: crofters and farmers in island areas, marginal uplands and hill farmers.

“With future arrangements for agriculture still unclear amidst the turmoil around Brexit, it is vital that the agriculture sector in the Western Isles benefits from the EU support to which it is entitled, while it still can.

“We now need real commitments over future funding, and an end to the attempted power grab over farming powers that should rightfully be at the Scottish Parliament.”

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