Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ewing hails improvements to troubled farm payments IT system

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has hailed improvements to the Scottish Government’s troubled farm payments IT system.

The system, which is estimated to have cost £178million to create, has been plagued with problems from day one.

It has struggled to process and administer payments resulting in the creation of various government-backed loan schemes to deliver cash to farmers and crofters.

Producers have also reported problems in previous years submitting their Single Application Form (SAF) through the system due to various system errors and countless periods where the system has been down for maintenance.

Mr Ewing said online SAF applications for 2017 – the third year of having to submit applications through the new IT system – had increased.

“So far we have received a provisional total of 19,862 applications for 2017 Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) payments before the deadline,” he said.

“In particular, I am pleased that we have had an increase in online applications. We have been investing in improving the system and figures show it was available for 98% of the application window.”

Online SAF applications for 2017 were 15,563, and the provisional number for paper applications is 4,299.

This compares to 2016 figures of 15,320 online submissions and 5,001 paper applications.

Mr Ewing said there had been a slight decrease in the overall number of applications

“We believe this may be a combination of changes to eligibility and some individuals with a very small payment deciding not to apply,” he added.

“For those who wish to make an application but have not met the deadline, it is still possible to submit a claim, which will be subject to a modest penalty reduction. I can assure farmers and crofters that we continue to work on the application site to make it as easy as possible to submit your SAF online.”

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said it was encouraging that so many farmers and crofters had successfully submitted their SAFs by the May 15 deadline.

He said: “Due to IT problems, deadline extensions were necessary in both 2015 and 2016 but the improvement in the application process is welcome and has given more applicants the confidence to go through the process online.

“With the May 15 deadline met and the application process a month ahead of where we were last year and the year before. We want Scottish Government to build on that momentum and quickly issue a clear and accurate payments timetable to farmers and crofters to allow them to plan their expected cashflows in the year ahead.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in