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13/12/19 00:01

Less favoured area support

Loan scheme for remote rural areas confirmed.

Loans have been offered to hill and upland farmers and crofters to provide them with financial support and certainty in the New Year.

Under the national Less Favoured Areas Support Loan Scheme (LFASS) 2019, eligible farmers and crofters will be offered up to 95% of their Common Agricultural Policy LFASS payment from January.

A similar scheme in 2018 delivered payments worth more than £52 million to more than 8,400 hill farmers and crofters.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“I have continually said that we should support those who need support the most. Even though we are on track to make LFASS payments this Spring, I want to make sure those farming on marginal land can go into the New Year with as much financial security as possible.

“Our rural economy is on the front line of the potential impacts of Brexit, with remote and rural areas likely to be hit the hardest if we have to leave the EU and lose tariff and barrier-free access to trade. This offer to around 10,000 farmers and crofters will therefore offer a degree of clarity and certainty.

“As with the recent National Basic Payment Support Scheme, which has invested more than £340 million into the rural economy since October, it is important for farmers and crofters to understand that no one would have to return this payment in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. This is their money and they are entitled to it.

“With Scotland closer to being removed from the EU against our wishes than ever before, I would encourage any eligible hill farmer or crofter to return their loan acceptance as soon as possible to enable us to get your payment out as quickly as possible.”

Background

Loan offers will issue in batches when claim eligibility can be confirmed. The initial batch of loan offers will be made to more than 10,000 farmers and crofters, and the Scottish Government will continue to make additional loan offers as claim eligibility is confirmed.

LFASS loan payments will be made from mid-January to anyone who returns their loan offer acceptance by 17 January 2020.

The loan scheme has been designed so the sum paid is less than the amount due from CAP LFASS 2019. The sum will be automatically deducted from the LFASS payment when it is fully processed and they will receive the balance payment.