Taskforce recommends simplified farm support in Scotland

The Scottish government has been urged by a taskforce to simplify farm support
The Scottish government has been urged by a taskforce to simplify farm support

A taskforce has recommended a simplified future farm support scheme for Scottish farmers, one which takes a 'farmer-focused approach'.

Simplicity, flexibility and consistency are at the heart of recommendations to improve how Scotland supports farming and food production in the future.

The Simplification Taskforce, set up to look at changes to the way the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is delivered during the transition period 2021-2024, recommended a number of improvements.

These include changes to online land mapping systems and appeals processing in order to take a more proportional approach to financial penalties when errors are found.

The taskforce also suggested that capital grant rules should be standardised.

The Scottish government's rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing said: “This report sets out how we might move beyond the current regulatory approach to providing support to farmers and crofters.

“I am pleased that the taskforce has recognised the need to provide industry with more flexibility, simplicity and support in areas that farmers and crofters have repeatedly highlighted as needing improvement.

“These recommendations have the potential to create a more farmer-focused approach, through a more proportionate approach to penalties and creating a better customer experience when applying for support,” he said.

“That is why we have already committed to improving land mapping with a new land parcel identification system and we have also taken steps to improve the appeals process.”

Work is now underway to consider how best to take the recommendations forward, including how they might inform the advice the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group has been asked to provide.

The group was created in January last year to provide advice on proposals for Scottish policy on farming and food production after 2024.

The Scottish government has proposed a Brexit transition period up until 2024 for farming and rural support.