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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10973: John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 28 August 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the revised indicative SRDP scheme budgets that are included in the latest SRDP modification are.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 29 August 2017

We have taken a range of circumstances into account in determining whether to make any modifications to the Scottish Rural Development Programme between now and 2020. These include the expectation that Scotland’s overall discretionary budget is expected to be 9.2% lower in real terms in 2019-20 compared to 2010-11 and the failure of the UK Government to transfer £160 million convergence funding which rightly belongs to Scottish farmers, despite repeated requests to do so. Moreover, despite our best efforts, we still do not have certainty about the future of the SRDP beyond a commitment from the UK Government to maintain Pillar 1 payments to farmers until 2022. Just one example of this is the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) 2019, for which I have been seeking guarantees from the UK Government since November last year.

The Scottish Government remains determined to take a strategic approach to maintaining the SRDP 2014-2020 budget, ensuring that we maximise the EU funds, while continuing support for key government priorities. That approach means we do not intend to modify current indicative budgets for providing direct support for farmers and crofters, that we will increase SRDP funding to support new and young entrants and will maintain planned support for forestry grants to help deliver the 10,000 hectare tree planting target.

With regard to other changes, we have also taken account of spend to date in some schemes which has been lower than expected and adjusted future budgets accordingly.

The revised indicative budgets, which we are seeking approval from the European Commission for SRDP period 2014-2020 are:

Less Favoured Area Support Scheme - £419 million

Agri-Environment Climate Scheme - £308 million

Forestry Grant Scheme - £266.8 million

Beef Efficiency Scheme - £25.4 million

New Entrants - £22 million

Crofters Agricultural Grant Scheme - £12 million

Small Farmers Grant Scheme - £2 million

Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation Grant Scheme - £66 million

Environmental Co-operation Action Fund - £4 million

Advisory Services - £19.5 million

Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund- £6 million

LEADER - £82 million

Broadband - £9 million

It is important to note that these are indicative budgets, and we will continue to monitor scheme performance and demand, along with the impact of future Spending Reviews, to ensure that the SRDP continues to deliver towards our commitment to build growth all across rural Scotland.