I welcome the United Kingdom Government’s commitment that it will right an historic wrong and repay the £160 million convergence funds to Scotland.
I have already said that those moneys are ring fenced in Scotland for agriculture, and I have made it clear that many of those who are in the greatest need are those who farm in our marginal uplands, our hill farms and our island areas. It is therefore right that they should benefit from the convergence moneys. However, I am still waiting for the UK Government to deliver on the commitment.
As I said, the convergence moneys were intended for Scotland and they should have been paid to Scotland between 2014 and 2020. [
.] The Tories are complaining about that, but it was their Tory Government that did not pay that money, so it is a bit off that they are grumbling about it now.
We shall of course consider extremely carefully how best and most appropriately to disburse those funds. I have already met various parties and am listening to views. It is right that we help those who are in greatest need: those who farm on our marginal uplands, our hill farms and our island areas.