Union raises concern over late mapping letters

NFU Scotland (NFUS) has raised its concerns with Scottish Government after it emerged that a significant number of businesses submitting a Single Application Form have been issued with mapping changes just days before the deadline.

Some businesses that received a land inspection in 2018 have started receiving letters and revised maps from Scottish Government this week – just days before the 2019 Single Application Form closes on May 15.

An estimated 1,150 land inspections were undertaken in 2018 – the majority of which resulted in very few or no adjustment to maps.

However, others will have received significant changes and these new maps must be used for the 2019 application.

Scottish Government informed NFUS that it is aware that some claimants receiving letters will be concerned about submitting their application.

For those that received a land inspection in 2018 and have not yet received a map (or any 2019 claimant who has a concern regarding their submission), staff in the Scottish Government’s local Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) offices have been asked to provide details of the inspection.

However, the RPID offices will be closed this weekend and will only reopen on Monday, May 13 – two days before the SAF deadline.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick is one of those who has received revised maps in the past few days.

He said: “Delays in Scottish Government processing land inspection information from 2018 have created a worrying and inconsiderate situation where revised maps are only being issued a few days before the 2019 SAF deadline.

The fact remains that the SAF application window closes on the 15 May and all claimants – including those with land inspections in 2018 – must meet this deadline if they wish to avoid any deductions for late submission.

“Members have the comfort of knowing that, while obliged to stick to the May 15 deadline, limited changes to their 2019 Single Application Form that relate to new maps can still be made up until May 31, 2019, without penalty.

“Our experience at home was that the local office staff were exceedingly helpful in assisting my wife and me with our form.

“Scottish Government’s communication with those affected has been poor but this will be a very important issue for a significant number of claimants, and it is right and proper that NFUS makes people aware of the situation.”