The good news might be that 900 or so farmers received a percentage of their Basic Payment Scheme cash last week. but the bad news, according to NFU Scotland, is that still leaves around about 10,000 farmers and crofters awaiting their support payment.
That means it could be May before some businesses receive these lifeline payments. And the union yesterday warned those farmers who were subject to inspections or who have complicated applications to prepare themselves for being at the back of Scottish Government’s queue.
The current rate of payments also means that less than a quarter of the £393 million pot of basic support and greening payments has been delivered.
The union said that with a gaping hole of almost £300m missing out of the Scottish rural economy, the ongoing failure by Scottish Government and its flawed computer programme to deliver support has placed the whole sector under intolerable strain. And union president Allan Bowie said this was contrary to promises by cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead that progress would be made.
Bowie did not deny that government office staff were working flat out, but he said the farming industry deserved a clear statement on why the number of applications being cleared each week was so disappointing and what further measures Scottish Government would be taking to address the problem.
And the union repeated its call for an accurate timetable on all support schemes to allow businesses to plan around this.