Slimy Gove gives Scottish farmers back their own money in cynical election ploy

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Note: BBC Scotland’s Disclosure team not involved due to conflict of interest and inability to follow trail.

Research: Brian McGowan

The Scottish Government announced yesterday, too politely:

Active farmers and crofters will benefit from the first instalment of convergence funding that the Scottish Government has long campaigned for. The initial £80 million will be distributed to support active farming, with a focus on those who farm in our marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas. The funding is the first tranche of a £160 million package the UK Government has agreed to pay to rectify a ‘historic wrong’ relating to EU Common Agricultural Policy funding that it failed to pass on to Scotland between 2014-2020. The payment follows a sustained campaign by the Scottish Government and stakeholders.

Readers might remember this from just over a year ago:

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SCOTTISH FARMERS have lost the battle over their unpaid ‘convergence’ cash, with Defra secretary, Michael Gove, finally admitting that they would not see any of the disputed £160m EU top-up that was awarded to Scotland but allocated elsewhere in the UK by David Cameron’s administration.

During an evidence session where Mr Gove was questioned by the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, he admitted that ‘mistakes had been made’: “That money has been allocated and is in the budgets of the various governments of the devolved administrations and we must respect the decisions of the coalition government.

So, this is just money unfairly pinched, being handed back slowly, late and timed to appear in the media as we approach an election. BBC Scotland, of course, played down any suggestion that Scottish farmers had not been ‘better together in the Union, saying:

Scottish farmer looks south with gratitude?

Upland and marginal farmers will benefit most from £160m of backdated subsidy for the agriculture sector.The money is the first half of EU convergence funding which was meant to increase support levels in Scotland but was instead distributed across the UK. Scottish ministers insist the new allocation adheres to the spirit of where the original money was intended.

It’s by no means clear that the last sentence reflects the feelings of Scottish ministers.

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Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

2 thoughts on “Slimy Gove gives Scottish farmers back their own money in cynical election ploy

  1. NOTE: Gove is a serial slimy slitherer. See link (bylinetimes) and snippets below regarding the disastrous waste of public funds Gove presided over when lavishing largesse on his technology colleges wheeze. These colleges are still toiling and are still proving a financial blackhole (to coin a phrase). The National Audit Office report (yesterday) is damning. Will it get any coverage? – we doubt it. I believe a certain Dominic Cummings may just have been Gove’s SPAD at the Dept of Education at the time – wonder whatever became of him? :

    A new report by the National Audit Office reveals that 17% of the university technology colleges pioneered by Michael Gove as Education Secretary have closed.

    Cabinet minister Michael Gove has wasted almost £800 million of taxpayers’ money on 58 free school vocational education colleges for tens of thousands of teenagers, a report by the National Audit Office reveals today.

    Since the first university technical college opened in 2011, 10 of them have had to close and the remaining colleges are only half full, with 21 of the 48 colleges being rated inadequate or needing improvement by Ofsted, the education regulator.

    The report reveals that the Government has spent £792 million on the programme – a variant of the free schools initiative – to be run by trusts and charities for 14-to-19 year olds, encouraging them to opt for apprenticeships and vocational work. Most of the money went on new buildings.

    The scheme was enthusiastically set up by Gove when he was Education Secretary. He later admitted that the colleges have failed. In an article in The Times in 2017, he anticipated criticism by the NAO by saying that the project had not worked.

    Now, two years on, the full cost has been revealed in today’s NAO report and bills are still mounting up as more colleges fall into debt because they cannot attract students.

    At present, there are 29,934 places available but only 13,572 students have taken them up. Some 4,863 students are taught in colleges given bad ratings by Ofsted. Only two colleges have a full complement of students.

    Some 13 existing colleges are in serious financial trouble and 10 have already closed. Another in South Wiltshire is expected to close next year.

    One UTC, South Derbyshire in Burton-on-Trent, never even opened despite the Department for Education spending £8 million on it because it couldn’t recruit enough initial students.

    Presumably Gove’s impressive track record of spaffing fortunes in public funds up the wall is why Johnson has appointed him to head up preparations for brexit?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Update – Beeb are carrying the story of the NAO report damning the policy failures involved in establishing the technology schools but, somehow, manage to neglect to mention that Gove was the relevant Minister and Cummings his departmental SPAD. Well done beeb – keep up the great work. Link below:

    Apologies John for going off-topic and commenting on a story affecting our friends and neighbours south of the border but couldn’t resist drawing attention to Gove’s grubby little fingerprints on yet another massive policy failure.

    Liked by 1 person

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