Cap Reform Blog

CAP journey continues

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I was on my travels last week, to Glasgow and Inverness.  I’ve got a new Scottish Government laptop, and the rail journey home from Glasgow gave me the opportunity to test it out with on-train WiFi.   I’m hoping that I can stop carrying around great heaps of paper in future – although it remains to be seen whether I can discipline myself to ditch my faithful dog-eared CAP regulation texts, and rely solely on electronic versions!

I’d been in Glasgow to speak on CAP reform at the Rural Law Conference.  We spend a lot of time thinking about and talking to farmers, but there’s a whole other community of folk who need to know all about the CAP – the professionals who advise and work with farm businesses.

In Inverness the following day I was with the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change (and crofting), Paul Wheelhouse, for meetings with NFU Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Committee, and the Crofting Commission.  Naturally there was particular interest in the proposals for crofter and small farmer grants in the new SRDP.

But the biggest news of the week was the decision to extend the deadline for responses to the consultation exercise on Pillar 1 Direct Payments.  So those of you who haven’t responded now have until the 28th to do so.


One Comment

  1. avatar

    I take it the deadline has been extended because everything is still so fluid in terms of the complication of EU regs and getting robust verification of their meaning, a meaning that the auditors will not argue with that is. Or is it because too few responses have been sent in? There could be 2 reasons for the latter. It’s a pretty challenging document for many. Or is it having done their calculations, most farmers are content with what the ready reckoner reveals for their future subsidy?

    Did the low numbers attending tuesday’s excellently presented NSA meeting on CAP and sheep coupling signify a mood of content from the majority who felt no need to attend? There even appeared little appetite for coupling from the speakers as well as from some strong voices present.

    We were told there might be pleasant surprises from the ready reckoner, but none expected to hear that the extensive specialist hill sheep producers had come out as clear winners! The big issue of how many Regions should there be, was submerged in the bizarre discussion around the contentious sheep coupling payments to be directed towards these big winners, making them even bigger winners. It wouldn’t just be these winners that will bear the brunt of extra compliance and potential fines to ensure counts and land eligibility match with claims. We don’t don’t whether it is even doable under the rules and could it compromise Alyn Smith’s hard work to reduce EID impacts on the whole industry?

    Looks like there will be little room for the much lauded “flexibility” and the accusation that it will be designed to fit a computer won’t be far from the mark. If that means simplicity, then so be it, otherwise money aimed at rural businesses will be lost to administrators, officials and auditors.

    If simplicity means some will be winners and others will be losers, so be it. That was always the case anyway. The successful began thinking forwards and future proofing their farm businesses with decreasing support long ago.

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