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11/03/14 00:01

Hill farm support

Hill farm support: Agriculture-farming-crofting

Less Favoured Area Scheme 2013 payments start.

Thousands of hill farmers and crofters in Scotland’s most fragile and remote areas are set to receive vital support payments by the end of this week.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed payments from the Scottish Government’s Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) 2013 will start to arrive in bank accounts from today (Tuesday March 11, 2014).

The Scottish Government has authorised payment of 10,400 claims, worth some £58 million. That equates to around 92 per cent of potentially eligible claimants for the scheme, which is worth £65.5 million in total.

Mr Lochhead said:

“The vast majority of agricultural land in Scotland is at a natural disadvantage which means our farmers and crofters are working in some of the most challenging conditions in Europe. Payments from the Scottish Government’s Less Favoured Area Support Scheme are therefore absolutely vital for Scottish food production and our rural communities.

“The fact that payments from the 2013 scheme have now started and will reach 92 per cent of claimants in the first week is good news for our farmers, crofters and the wider rural economy. My officials will continue to work hard to ensure the remaining payments are made as quickly as possible.”

Notes to editors

The Less Favoured Areas in Scotland represent about 85 per cent of agricultural land. In England, the same land category only accounts for around 15 per cent of the agricultural area.

The Scottish Government’s Less Favoured Area Support Scheme 2013 is worth a total of £65.5 million and has received about 11,300 potentially eligible claims. Approximately 92 per cent of claimants – some 10,400 – are scheduled to receive payments totalling £58 million, or 88 per cent of total available funding, by March 14, 2014.

LFASS will continue in 2014 under the Scottish Government’s rural development transition arrangements: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Rural-support-schemes-to-continue-446.aspx

The Scottish Government’s consultation on the new rural development programme closed on February 28, 2014. It included proposals to continue funding LFASS at current levels from 2015 onwards in line with European regulations. http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Rural-development-consultation-739.aspx

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