The UK Government has been urged to “get a move on” and pay £160 million to Scotland’s farming and crofting sectors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously pledged to give EU convergence funding to Scotland but ministers in Edinburgh are concerned their Westminster counterparts are “dragging their heels on payment”.

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The money should have been due to farmers and crofters in 2016, according to SNP ministers, but it was only confirmed it would be handed over in new Chancellor Sajid Javid’s first spending review earlier this month.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing (Alan Peebles/PA)


At the time, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack hailed the move as showing the UK Government was acting to “right the wrongs of unfair funding”.

But Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has now raised concerns the cash might not be handed over until April 2020.

Convergence funds were paid out to parts of the European Union where agriculture payments were lower than average.

The issue was discussed as members of the Scottish Cabinet met in Edinburgh.

A Scottish Government spokesman said after the meeting: “Despite the promises that have been made, the UK Government appear to be dragging their heels on payment of this money, having indicated it might not be paid till next April.

“Given we’re anticipating a general election fairly soon, it takes us into the space where this money wouldn’t have been paid until well after then and potentially it puts another question mark on the payment of this money, which has been delayed for many years now, with the UK Government having finally agreement to pay it back to farmers and crofters.

“So the message from Fergus Ewing is that the UK Government should get a move on, pay the money they have agreed is owed to Scottish farmers and crofters and do it without delay.”