Quicker payments 'welcome boost' for Scots farmers

The Scottish government has announced there will be quicker rural payments next year
The Scottish government has announced there will be quicker rural payments next year

Farm payments will be made to businesses one or two months earlier than they were delivered this year, the Scottish government has announced.

The Scottish government strategy for rural payments for 2020-21 was unveiled in a parliamentary statement by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing on Thursday (12 November).

He also said Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments will be topped up by the convergence funding allocations next year.

The Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) welcomed the announcement, saying rural support payments were vital to businesses in Scotland.

Eleanor Kay, policy adviser at SLE said: “These are vital support funds and it is important that we see all claimants have their payments expedited at a time of considerable uncertainty.

"Moving forward, we need to soon consider how we continue to reward upland farmers for all the environmental and societal benefits they deliver once LFASS is replaced.”

Ms Kay also said Mr Ewing's announcement of a creation of a board to oversee rural recommendations from expert industry reports would benefit from diverse input.

“Scottish agriculture is familiar with an extensive range of expert reports and research being published each year but it is true that recommendations are often forgotten about or the pace of change is too slow," she said.

“A new board to oversee the outcome of these reports can add value but we need to see a diverse group of rural voices being included on that board.

"This will go some way to ensuring that all of Scotland’s land managers are included in creating the new plans for rural policy.”