£300 Million Farm Payments Underway Says Ewing

Payments worth more than £300 million to farmers and crofters have begun, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has confirmed.

In the coming months, eligible farmers and crofters will receive the final balance of their Common Agricultural Policy Pillar 1 entitlement for the 2017 scheme year, having already received up to 90% through the government’s loan scheme in early November.

Over 18,000 eligible farmers will receive payments under the Common Agricultural Policy’s Pillar 1 schemes, that will support investment, jobs and drive the rural economy forward.

Mr Ewing said:

“I can confirm that the first tranche of Basic Payment Support, Greening and Young Farmer payments for the 2017 scheme year have now begun.
“These payments will see farmers and crofters receive the final balance of payments, following my decision last year to provide a loan scheme worth up to 90% of their entitlement. This decision meant that farmers were paid a higher proportion of their entitlement at an earlier time than ever before, ensuring no eligible farmer who accepted the offer of a loan was out of pocket.
“With further tranches being made in the coming weeks and months, I am confident that the vast majority of farmers and crofters will receive their payments by the end of the payment window, demonstrating my absolute commitment to support our rural business and communities.”
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Today’s announcement of the £300 million being paid out to Scottish farmers and crofters as the final balance payment comes as a timely boost for many of our members who are seriously struggling financially following the difficult autumn, winter and early spring.
“It is also important to mention that not all of those due their balance will receive it in this first wave of payments. Those who miss out on this tranche still need to receive the payment sooner rather than later and we would like to see a commitment from the Scottish Government that these will be made well before the deadline of 30 June.
“This is not the end of the Scottish Government’s commitments though and it is important that we now see the same urgency for the release of the LFASS balance, suckler calf payments and ewe hogg payments.
“These payments are vital to farmers at the best of times and considering the recent struggles within the industry it is crucial that farmers and crofters get these financial boosts as soon as possible.
“With such a difficult six months for farmer across the regions and sectors, it is not inconceivable that these payments will be the most income some will receive until the end of autumn, after harvest and the back end sales.
“It is great news that farmers will be receiving the last 10% but the Scottish Government needs to build on this moment and not rest on its laurels. This has been one of the hardest and longest winters we have seen in a long time and we need the Scottish Government to continue to work with us during this tough spell.”

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