Ewing calls for commitments over BPS as Scottish payments begin

Payments worth more than £333 million have begun, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has announced.

In the coming months, eligible farmers, crofters and land managers will receive their Common Agricultural Policy Pillar 1 2018 entitlement.

Around 78% of eligible claimants have already received up to 90% of their entitlement through a Government loan in October.

As he made the announcement, Ewing called on Westminster to clarify the future of the Pillar 2 payment.

“In line with the payment schedule I published last year, I can confirm that the first tranche of 2018 Basic Payment, Greening and Young Farmer payments has now begun,” he said.

In total, over £300 million of European funding will be paid to more than 18,000 farmers, crofters and land managers, offset by the recovery of BPS2018 loans where customers chose to take one.

“This funding will directly support investment, jobs and the rural economy moving forward, providing certainty for many in our rural communities. With further payments being made in the coming weeks and months, I am confident that the majority of payments will be made by the end of the payment window.

“With Brexit continuing to present the biggest threat to the industry, I would remind farmers that the farm payment element of the Common Agricultural Policy payments are guaranteed at current levels until 2021, offering a degree of certainty and stability during these uncertain times.

“In the meantime, I continue to push the UK Government for confirmation that Pillar 2 funding is included under their funding guarantee – a confirmation we have yet to receive.”