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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01730: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 29 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that inspections of claimants by its Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities Directorate and any subsequent issue of sanctions for non-compliance are carried out on a legal basis.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 15 August 2016

The management of expenditure under the common agriculture policy is shared by the member state and the commission with aid paid by the designated national authority the so called paying agency which in Scotland is the Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate who are then reimbursed by the commission. The final recognition of expenditure by the commission is determined through a procedure called the ‘clearance of accounts’.

The purpose of this procedure is set out in the financial regulations applicable to the general budget of the European communities and its implementing rules. Article 53b (4) of the financial regulations states that the objective of the procedure is to ensure the funds are used in accordance with the applicable rules to enable the commission to assume final responsibility for the implementation of the budget. The Scottish Government (as a paying agency) is subject to various audit scrutiny including internal audit, Audit Scotland and commission audit reviewing the compliance with the above regulation thus ensuring that the functions of the paying agency are undertaken on a legal basis.