As the Tories launched their European campaign today, the SNP has highlighted the fact that it is the Tories in Westminster who have handed Scotland the worst CAP deal in Europe and negotiated Scotland to the bottom of the CAP funding league tables.
Scotland currently receives the lowest level of direct farm payments (pillar 1) of any part of the UK and lower than all other EU member states except Estonia and Latvia – both of whom will move ahead of Scotland by 2019. Meanwhile Scotland also receives the lowest rate of rural development funding (pillar 2) anywhere in the EU.
Were Scotland already independent, an EU commitment that no member state will receive less than €196 per hectare by 2019 would automatically have seen funding for Scotland’s farmers increase by €1 billion over the funding period. Instead farmers in Scotland will receive just €128 per hectare by 2019 – the lowest rate in the EU.
Under the current system the UK has received an additional €230 million, purely because of the nature of farming in Scotland which has 85% of the UK’s ‘less favoured areas’. Despite receiving these funds because of Scotland the Westminster Tories have failed to pass all of it on to Scotland’s farmers, despite cross-party agreement in the Scottish Parliament.
Commenting, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
“There is real anger and frustration amongst Scotland’s farmers after the Tory Government in Westminster ensured that Scottish farmers will have the worst CAP deal in Europe.
“It was the Westminster Government the Tories lead which made the appalling decision to divert the majority of the €230 million intended for Scotland’s farmers, vital support that would have gone a long way to helping our farming sector.
“If Scotland were already an independent country, EU rules mean that our farmers would have received a €1 billion bonus in the support provided to them – it is only by being part of the UK that our farmers have lost out.
“This year we have the chance to do things differently by ensuring that the Westminster Government’s damaging decisions no longer mean people in Scotland lose out.
“A vote for a strong team of SNP MEPs on the 22nd of May and a Yes vote in September will let Scotland make our mark in Europe and ensure that people here are no longer paying the price of Westminster’s failings.”