WILSON SAYS FARMERS AND DARD MUST FOOT THE £60 MILLION PENALTY FROM EUROPE
The Assembly Member says that the Department of Agriculture and farmers who submitted false subsidies claims must foot the £60 million penalty from Europe.
Green Party Assembly member Brian Wilson said: “Inaccurate claims should have been spotted by the Department of Agriculture long before auditors from the European Commission carried out spot checks. Any fine should be paid by the Department of Agriculture and the sum recovered from those who submitted inaccurate and false claims. It should not be taken from the block grant. Services are already under pressure with £120 million cuts already in the pipe line. The ordinary man and woman on the street, who has nothing to do with farming or who receives no grant substitutes from Europe, should not have to foot this bill.”
Regarding the Agriculture Minister’s views that no one is to blame, Mr. Wilson MLA said: “I do not accept that no one is to blame. The farmers who put in the inaccurate claims are to blame and the Department of Agriculture’s failure to spot the false claims has cost us dearly. The Minister needs to outline how she plans to foot this bill.”