lfass Support Arriving in Hill Farming Accounts


Support delivered under the Scottish Government’s ‘national pot’ of funding established to deliver the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme has been arriving in hill farmers’ accounts this week.

Faced with the prospect of LFASS payments being significantly delayed due to the flawed IT delivery system, and under pressure from NFUS, Scottish Government put in place a national fund to ensure £55 million – from a total budget of £65 million – reached claimants in March.

Payments under the national LFASS have bypassed the new IT system, and were instead based on payments made under LFASS in 2014 and area of land claimed in 2015.  It will see most claimants receive around 90 percent of funds due with a balance payment to be made later in the year.

NFU Scotland’s Less Favoured Areas Committee Chairman Martin Kennedy, who farms in Highland Perthshire, said: “Thanks to continued pressure from NFUS, the majority of our farmers and crofters who live and work in some of the most challenging conditions in Scotland will be receiving a significant percentage of their annual Less Favoured Area payment this week.

“Due to the ongoing problems with the IT system installed to deliver new CAP schemes, there was no prospect of LFASS payments being made until the Basic Payment scheme issues had been resolved.

“Continued lobbying has resulted in the Scottish Government creating a national scheme to the value of £55 million and these funds are now being delivered.

“This lifeline payment will help to address the serious cash flow problems that not only our farmers and crofters are facing but also the supply industry who rely on us for business.

“Although we welcome this nationally-funded payment, it is only a start, and pressure must be maintained for Scottish Government to meet its own April deadline to get coupled payments for beef calves out the door.  For our hill farmers, the retention period for the new ewe hogg scheme ends tomorrow (31 March) and we will be looking for a clear payment timetable from Scottish Government.  In combination, the beef calf and ewe hogg schemes can push a further £45 million into the rural economy.

“Tomorrow also marks the date by which Scottish Government has indicated that a new national pot of £200 million will be utilised to deliver support to those who have yet to receive any payment under the new Basic Payment Scheme.

“It is inherent on the Scottish Government to work flat out to plug the huge holes in Scotland’s rural economy that have emerged as a result of a support delivery system that is not fit for purpose.”

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