The cabinet secretary for rural affairs appointed after next week’s Scottish Parliament elections will find a note from NFU Scotland already lying on their desk listing a series of priorities where the union wants action.
According to president Allan Bowie, one of the first jobs will be to ensure the completion of the 2015 payment run for the basic payment scheme.
“The 2015 payment debacle was wholly unacceptable and Scottish Government’s failure to quickly address its deeply flawed IT delivery system blew a hole in Scotland’s fragile rural economy,” he said.
Bowie also wants the new minister to ensure applications for the current year “proceed smoothly with a clear, realistic timetable for payments in the future”.
With applications for the 2016 scheme already being submitted ahead of the 16 May deadline, Bowie said the union was looking for a categorical assurance that the problems encountered with last year’s scheme would not be repeated.
“A clear timetable of when Scottish farmers and crofters can expect payments in the future must be established and adhered to,” he added.
Earlier this week, the union said the Government had now virtually fulfilled its pledge to ensure Scottish farmers and crofters who had not received any of last year’s support payment by the end of March would have received payment from the £200 million emergency fund.
The union added that those who had not yet received cash would receive a notification letter by tomorrow, although it believed there were a small number of complex applications which the Scottish Government was struggling to process.