2013-03-14 xml
NFUS Welcomes Start to Vital Support Payments

NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement from Scottish Government that lifeline support for those farming in Scotland’s Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) will begin to arrive in bank accounts from Friday.

LFA payments give critical financial support to hill and upland livestock farmers and crofters, allowing them to continue grazing cattle and sheep in areas of Scotland that are naturally challenging.

Hill Cattle

photo © Jennifer MacKenzie

The news that payment has now been authorised to approximately 86 per cent of those claiming under the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) is a welcome boost not only for those farmers and crofters receiving the payments, but also for Scotland’s rural economy as a whole. That will see £56 million from a total scheme pot of £65.5 million delivered to hill farmers in the next few days with a commitment from Scottish Government to ensure outstanding payments are delivered as soon as possible.

NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy and Regions Jonnie Hall said:
“The delivery of this support is always a relief for farmers and crofters, but never more so than this year. The legacy of the weather endured in 2012 has left many of our hill and upland farmers with feed and fodder bills that they could never have budgeted for.

“It appears that this payment run will see a large majority of LFASS claimants receive their funds, giving them a boost ahead of lambing time. And we look to Scottish Government to deliver on its promise to complete payments as soon as possible.

“LFASS remains a hugely important source of funding for those farmers who are at the heart Scotland’s crucial livestock sector. With CAP Reform discussions working towards a conclusion and a new Rural Development Plan for Scotland yet to be created, we need to ensure that the many benefits that LFASS delivers in terms of activity, livestock production and the environment are preserved within any new scheme.

“LFASS has proved its worth and we would welcome clear commitment that the current scheme will continue to roll over until such times as the terms of a new Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) are agreed. That commitment would provide an anchor of security to many Scottish farm businesses at a time when the delivery of direct support through Pillar One of the CAP has yet to be decided. The shift to an area-based Single Farm Payment in the future will bring a period of flux and transition during which time a stable LFASS would be hugely welcome.”


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