Announcement on loan scheme provides clarity and stability to farmers and crofters

Today’s announcement from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing on a loan scheme and timetable for support payments draws a line under uncertainty and provides clarity to farmers and crofters.

Date:

Tue, 12 Sep 2017

Source:

NFU Scotland

The announcement from the Cabinet Secretary confirms that a national loan scheme will be made available to farmers and crofters this autumn. Applications to the opt in loan scheme are expected to open in late September with 90 percent of expected Basic Payment Scheme and Greening support delivered to eligible applicants from November.

In the absence of a fully functioning IT delivery system, loan schemes have been an invaluable route to filling the financial hole that would otherwise open up in the rural economy.

As part of a comprehensive timetable on all schemes, there was also welcome clarification that LFASS 2016 payments will start at the end of this month and LFASS 2017 payments are expected to start in May 2018 and if delivery in May 2018 looks unachievable, a further loan scheme will be introduced by Scottish Government.

Speaking from the Scottish Parliament, President Andrew McCornick said: “Loan schemes have proved effective in tackling the many difficulties experienced in delivering CAP payments under the 2015 and 2016 schemes.  NFU Scotland had urged the Cabinet Secretary to once again consider a national scheme for 2017 to drive up producer confidence and give a lift to the rural economy after a very difficult year.  

“In his statement, the Cabinet Secretary was candid about the challenges he, and his staff, continue to face in completing the necessary improvements needed to the IT delivery system but he has also shown a clear commitment to the wider rural economy with his announcement today.

“Knowing that 90 percent of your BPS and Greening will be delivered in November and having a timetable when other payments will be received gives clarity and certainty to farming and crofting businesses.  Experience from previous loan schemes indicate that this announcement will have a positive impact on the whole rural economy.

“For our hills and uplands, LFASS is a crucial funding stream.  Certainty was provided by the Cabinet Secretary that these lifeline payments will come in May 2018 and if that timetable is in doubt, a further loan scheme will be introduced.

“The Cabinet Secretary recognised the need for stability.  Given that we are entering a further year of loan schemes and that Brexit negotiations are some considerable distance from being concluded, stability is badly needed in these uncertain times for Scottish farmers and crofters.” 

 

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