More than £300m payments made early to mitigate cost of living crisis.
Payments to support Scottish farming businesses through the current financial crisis have exceeded targets by three months.
Payments have been issued to more than 14,200 businesses, totalling £328 million.
Sharp rises in energy, fuel and fertiliser costs for the agriculture sector prompted legislative changes to allow early payment of Scottish Government support schemes.
The legislative changes came into effect on 18 September and work to process payments began the next working day.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I am acutely aware that businesses across Scotland are facing a hugely challenging increase in their bills and we have moved quickly to help relieve inflationary pressures and protect jobs across our world-leading food and drink sector.
“We announced in June that farm payment dates would be brought forward to September in an effort to support Scotland’s farmers with cash flow and the cost of living crisis and we have delivered on our promise.
“The first tranche of payments have substantially exceeded forecasts and are significantly ahead of previous years.”
Annually, the Scottish Government pays out around £420 million through the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments.
This year, the Scottish Government’s farm payment strategy will see a transition away from providing manual loan payments to automated scheme advance payments.
The Rural Support (Simplification and Improvement) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 were laid in the Scottish Parliament on 16 June 2022, coming into force on 18 September 2022.
The target to reach 70% expenditure is 31 December 2022. This target was surpassed 3 months ahead of previous performance.
Payments totalling £328 million have been issued to 14,271 businesses (81.68%) - representing 78.3% of the annual anticipated expenditure.
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