Farmers receive vital funding
Single Farm Payments on time and in full.
Scotland’s rural economy is set to receive a boost of almost £380 million with the commencement of this year’s Single Farm Payments.
Around 15,700 producers are due to receive their Single Farm Payments by Monday, December 2 – the first day that payments are permitted by European regulations.
The Scottish Government’s prompt payments means almost all farmers should receive their full Single Farm Payments by the end of January 2014 – five months ahead of the European Union deadline.
Due to the ‘financial discipline’ imposed by Europe this year, approximately 14,600 farmers receiving Single Farm Payments of more than €2,000 will receive a small reduction of 2.5 per cent. However, approximately 16,000 farmers who receive their payments in sterling will actually see an increase of five per cent because of this year’s higher exchange rate.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said:
“Many Scottish farmers have had tough time in 2013, with the extreme weather we experienced earlier this year taking its toll on businesses the length and breadth of the country.
“I know that these support payments are often a lifeline for Scottish farmers, which is why this Government is doing all it can to ensure as many farmers as possible receive their Single Farm Payment in full as promptly as possible.
“The Scottish Government has a strong track record in making early Single Farm Payments, with typically 90 per cent of farmers receiving funds by the end of December – which has been welcomed by the industry.
“I am pleased to announce that we are on course to achieve a similar timescale for this year’s Single Farm Payments which will inject a total of almost £450 million into Scotland’s rural economy. And with every £1 of output from the agricultural sector generating an additional 80p in other parts of the Scottish economy, this vital funding for farmers clearly delivers benefits for all of Scotland.
“Although financial discipline is being imposed by Europe, we successfully lobbied to minimise its impact on Scottish farmers, and as a result Scotland is receiving about €4 million less in cuts than had originally been proposed.
“We are now working hard to ensure that farmers receive their payments as early as possible and producers can help us to settle their claims by responding promptly to any queries they may receive from Scottish Government officials.”
Single Farm Payments totalling £379 million are due to go into the bank accounts of 15,682 farmers on December 2, 2013. The Single Farm Payment Scheme is the replacement for historic arable and livestock direct support schemes and has a total budget of £446 million. Farmers applied for the Scheme in May 2013.
The European regulations fix a payment window that means payments can be made between December 1, and June 30, in the following year. As December 1 falls on a Sunday this year, the earliest payment date is Monday December 2 (the first banking day).
Payments are being issued to producers who have successfully passed the Scottish Government’s eligibility checks. Because of European Commission conditions attached to payments, farmers and crofters who have outstanding inspections or other eligibility issues cannot be paid until these have been resolved.
The payments farmers will receive are net of a reduction for modulation.
Scottish farmers who are registered for Rural Payments Online can access payment information up to seven days in advance of it going into their bank accounts. Signing up for Rural Payments Online also allows claimants to apply online, with 24 hour access, instant receipts and dedicated helpdesk support.