Union calls for extension to CAP claims window

NFUS president Allan Bowie. Picture: Contributed
NFUS president Allan Bowie. Picture: Contributed
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NFU Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to extend the application window for vital common agricultural policy (CAP) support schemes.

The problem for applicants, according to the union, is that the much-maligned computer system is still giving problems.

The current deadline for farmers and crofters submitting their 2016 Single Application Forms is 16 May and the request will be discussed with the Government later today.

Feedback received by the union from members and farm consultants confirms the IT application system has improved in the past 12 months but that many applicants are currently unable to submit their 2016 claim as they have yet to receive the necessary updated maps for their business.

Scotland is not alone in requesting an extension to the application time. The European Commission granted member states the discretion to extend the application window again this year after recognising that some member states continue to have problems delivering the new CAP schemes.

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Union president Allan Bowie had hoped the “deeply flawed £180 million IT system” installed to deliver new CAP schemes would have improved to the extent that an extension to the application window would not have been necessary.

He confirmed the IT system was still toiling to approve all applications made in 2015 and deliver the balance payments that were still outstanding.

“We will be looking for the new government to provide a guarantee that in 2016 there will be no repeat of the failings seen in 2015 and a clear timetable for support payment delivery this year is quickly established and adhered to.”