2019 support scheme outlined.
Hill farmers and crofters in Scotland’s most remote and rural areas will continue to receive support under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) into 2019.
Under plans outlined in the post-Brexit transition consultation, the intention is to continue with LFASS, paying at 80% of the current rates to provide stability and support to farmers and crofters.
The move comes following compulsory changes to the scheme made by the European Commission, which mean EU member states have the option from 2019 of continuing to operate an LFASS scheme on a reduced financial scale or replacing it with an Area of Natural Constraint scheme.
Confirming the change, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“LFASS is vital for our rural economy and remote communities, which is why I have decided to continue with the scheme in 2019 even though the UK Government has stopped its support.
“Providing support to more than 11,000 farmers and crofters, the scheme will continue with payments at the maximum that EU rules allow, which is 80%. I am also actively consulting with stakeholders on how farmers and crofters about the shape of future support for the industry, including those producers in Less Favoured Areas, as part of the recently launched Post Brexit Transition consultation.
“Unfortunately, I am unable to provide further certainty beyond 2019 as, despite repeated requests, the UK Government has still not given clear assurances on post-Brexit guarantees. While I continue to press them to do so, I hope this announcement will provide stability of funding and support for our farmers and crofters.”
The Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) is part of the £1.3 billion Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP (2014-2020. More information about the SRDP 2014-20.
Stability and Simplicity: proposals for rural funding transition period will run until 7th September.