Farm payment IT shambles has been inexcusable

Mark Ruskell, Environment and Rural Affairs spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, today (19 May) highlighted a report by Audit Scotland which concludes that the way that problems with the farm payments IT system have been handled by the Scottish Government are "a serious concern".

The CAP Futures Programme was supposed to minimise financial penalties for non-compliance with EC regulations, and was originally estimated to cost £102million. It now has a budget of £178million and a reduced scope, and funds could run out before the system meets EC regulations, resulting in penalties of up to £125million.

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"Tens of thousands of people are employed in farming in Scotland, and the IT shambles that we have seen has been inexcusable. Food producers and other argicultural businesses rely on public funding and for some time the Scottish Government has known that the IT system was a risk.

"To date only three quarters of basic payments have been issued. Given the importance of food and farming to Scotland's economy this issue should have been a higher priority for government, and I hope this audit report makes clear the need for lessons to be learned."