The Scottish Conservatives have hit out at the SNP Government after discovering 81 farmers are still waiting for their Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments after four years.
The LFASS is designed to provide ‘essential income support’ to farmers working in remote and constrained rural areas.
North East MSP Peter Chapman, who was given the figure in answer to a parliamentary question, said he was ‘shocked’ farmers working in such difficult conditions were still waiting for their applications from 2015 to be processed.
Responding to Mr Chapman, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing claimed only the most complex cases were still being processed, adding not all of the outstanding claims would necessarily prove to be eligible for a payment.
But Mr Chapman said: “Farmers in my region and across the region are routinely paying the price for the SNP’s incompetence.
“Their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) IT fiasco has only just resolved after thousands of farmers across Scotland were left out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.
“Scottish farmers are being left in the dark and they are desperate for help. To wait almost four years, only to be told no, is unacceptable.
“How can the industry make plans for the future when it does not know what is coming in? It is a kick in the teeth.”
The Scottish Government aims to process the ‘vast majority’ of the outstanding claims by April 1, 2019.