Rural loan payments start in Scotland
PAYMENTS from a rural loan scheme designed to help vulnerable farmers and crofters in Scotland have started.
More than 7,400 payments worth more than £45 million have been processed and will be paid this week. Further payments are likely to follow as a total of 11,000 letters have been issued offering eligible businesses the opportunity to benefit from the 2016 National Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS).
These loan payments will be automatically deducted from EU payments once LFASS 2016 applications are processed. Further payment runs will be made in the coming weeks.
Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘I understand how important these payments are for farmers, crofters and the wider rural economy so I’m delighted to see the money being released to those that require this much-needed financial security.
‘This scheme will pump millions into the rural economy at an important time enabling farmers and crofters to get on with purchases and investments for the crucial summer and autumn months.
‘Farmers and crofters who accept the offer, but have missed the May 5 deadline, will still receive the full payment to which they are entitled, and will receive it as soon as possible. I’d encourage anyone yet to apply for an LFASS loan to do so.’
NFU Scotland vice president Martin Kennedy said: ‘This time of year is always the most challenging financially for beef and sheep producers in more disadvantaged areas. There are lots of costs and bills to settle at a time when little or no revenue is coming in and that severely tests the cash flow of even the most prudent farmer or crofter. It’s the timing of this LFASS cash injection that makes it of real value, rather than the sums involved.
‘With an IT payment system that is not yet fit for purpose, our call for this LFASS loan scheme was a timely and necessary intervention. It’s important to remember those not in this first round of payments will not be overlooked.
‘Further loan scheme letters have been issued in recent weeks and we’ll be pressing the Scottish Government to ensure all those eligible and who have opted in get their loan amount as soon as possible.’