|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
Mind the gap
Transition arrangements for the Common Agricultural Policy should ensure that support can continue for Scottish farmers.
The initial plans, outlined at yesterday’s EU Council meeting in Luxembourg, were welcomed by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead as a significant step in the right direction.
The proposals will allow certain important aspects of Scotland’s existing SRDP (Scotland Rural Development Programme) to be rolled over into 2014 – avoiding leaving a gap between the existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its successor for key priority areas such as Single Farm Payment, LFASS and agri-environment.
However, the Minister made clear he will continue to press for the transitional arrangements to be extended to the whole Programme allowing Member States and their regions to determine their priority areas for continued investment.
Speaking immediately after EU Council in Luxembourg Mr Lochhead said:
“Single farm payments and LFASS funding provide a lifeline to many farmers and SRDP provides valuable support for a range of rural development projects in Scotland which many farmers and rural communities make good use of. So it is really good news that we have secured transitional arrangements for these schemes.
“We had been very concerned that CAP reform could have left a gap in this provision and it’s good news that this issue has been recognised by the Commission – something which for a long time we have been calling for. And although it is a huge step in the right direction, we will continue to seek maximum flexibility and the availability to roll the whole programme - including for example support for new entrants, food grants and village halls - forward for another year to the beginning of 2015, to ensure we can support all our priority areas.”