George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, says Scottish farmers could receive an unexpected £25 million cash boost to their SFP next year as the current EU CAP financing comes to an end in December 2012.
The new legislation allowing the CAP to continue for an extra year until the present reform is agreed and implemented for 2014 does not contain the powers allowing the Scottish Government to transfer money from direct payments into rural development funding.
This means that unless the Commission’s proposals are amended on the regulation of the application of direct payments for the year 2013, the Scottish Rural Development Programme will be cut by £25 million next year and instead Scottish farmers will enjoy a huge boost to their Single Farm Payments.
Mr Lyon said:“The Commission’s plans for a transition year until the new CAP comes into force in 2014 contains no powers for the Scottish Government to use voluntary modulation to top up their Rural development programme for next year.
The Commission has not made any changes to their plans so far as it is only the four administrations in the UK that use them.
I have heard nothing from the Scottish Government about whether they want these powers or not. I hope it has not escaped their attention that they are about to lose them.
It would certainly be very unusual for the Cabinet Secretary to want to give up powers that he has. Unless there are amendments made to the legislation, the Scottish Rural Development Programme will face a £25 million cut next year and Scottish farmers will instead receive a cash bonanza in their SFP cheque.
“I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary asking him whether he is aware of this loss of power for Scotland and if he wants amendments lodged in Agriculture Committee to try and change the Commission’s proposals.”