Loan Scheme For Vulnerable Farmers
5th April 2017
Farmers and crofters who are waiting for their 2016 payment under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) will be offered a Scottish Government funded loan.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed this will provide around £50 million support to businesses operating in Scotland's most marginalised and remote areas. The loans aim to provide financial security for farmers and crofters until the EU payments are made later this year and potentially boost the wider rural economy.
Mr Ewing has also provided an update on progress to deliver remaining 2016 farm payments:
Basic / Greening / Young Farmer (90% payments) - First payments now in bank accounts
Basic / Greening / Young Farmer (top up 10%) - by end June 2017
Scottish Suckler Beef Support and Scottish Upland Sheep Scheme - May 2017
Rural Priorities - from July 2017
Agri-Environment Climate Scheme and Forestry Grant Scheme – Autumn 2017
Beef Efficiency Scheme – Autumn 2017
Land Managers Options – Autumn 2017
Mr Ewing said:"Fixing the CAP payment issues remains my number one priority. And while our focus remains on getting 2016 payments made as soon as possible, the situation regarding LFASS is not good enough. I understand absolutely how important these LFASS payments are to farmers and crofters in our most remote and marginalised areas. Having considered how best to address the situation, and importantly heard the views of the NFUS and other stakeholder organisations, I can confirm that we are making available LFASS loans again this year. Letters will be issued before the end of the month to farmers inviting them to apply. This will deliver support of around £50 million to some of our most vulnerable farmers and crofters, providing much needed financial security in the coming months.
"We always knew 2016 would be a difficult year as we continue to increase the functionality of the IT system. That work means that some 2016 scheme payments have to be scheduled for later in the year and while that is not ideal, farm businesses need to know the likely timescales to help with their forward planning. The schedule prioritises the payment of core direct support to reach the greatest number of farmers and crofters and I expect the vast majority of farmers and crofters will receive all their basic and greening payments by the end of June. I want to reassure all farmers and crofters that officials continue to work flat out to a detailed plan to put 2016 payments on to a better footing."
A field of oats - Caithness Biodiversity Group