The Scottish Government’s Rural Payments IT system has come under fresh criticism again this week. The Scottish Government had given assurances earlier in the year that all 2016 payments would be made by the end of June 2017 and therefore fall within normal EU timeframes. Conservative MSP, Peter Chapman, appears to be questioning the likelihood of this now happening.
The latest update given to industry stakeholders on IT related payment delays was provided at an Agriculture and Rural Development meeting in mid-February, and is set out below. Given that it appears that there are still processing problems with the IT system however – which was supposed to be delivered in full early 2017 – fresh doubts are emerging.
2015 Pillar 1 payments
There is a very small tail of basic payment scheme payments to be made; just over 30. The couple-support schemes have a similarly low number of claimants still to be paid.
2015 SRDP payments
There are a larger number of LFASS applicants still awaiting payment, around 1700, but this number should be substantially reduced as a result of the March 2017 payments run. LMO and rural priorities payments, including annual recurrent payments for agri-environment and forestry schemes, are over 90% completed.
2016 payments (all)
13,172 businesses been paid loans until full 2016 payments made. Loan scheme closed 20 January, although small process to pay top-up loans for those with entitlements transfers is continuing.
There is an intention to pay 2016 payments by the end of June 2017, which is within normal EU requirements. However, a detailed payments timetable is still to be supplied. Nevertheless, basic payment scheme payments should start sometime in March.
Interim letters should have been received by all those with entitlement transfers outstanding. This is aimed at giving comfort until such time as the IT system can make the formal transfers. This functionality is still to be delivered by the IT provider.
Overpayments were made to 166 people. They have been contacted and invoices sent out to ask for overpayment amount back.