Changes to 2018 support scheme.
Hill farmers and crofters can now expect to receive 100% of their 2018 Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) grant, it has been confirmed.
Subject to expected changes to EU CAP regulations, the move follows this week’s draft Budget and will result in more than 11,000 farmers and crofters receiving their full grant rather than a 2018 parachute payment worth 80% as was previously announced.
LFASS provides hill farmers and crofters in Scotland’s most fragile and remote areas essential income support to their farming business.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“LFASS is vital for our rural economy and remote communities, so I am delighted to confirm that hill farmers and crofters can expect to receive 100% of their entitlement for 2018 LFASS – rather than the previously announced 80%.
“Unlike England, who discontinued their equivalent scheme some years ago, Scotland continues to operate this key measure to compensate for the extra costs incurred by farmers in our most remote and challenging areas.
“I continue to press the UK Government for a clear statement about what is guaranteed post-Brexit to support our rural economy. While committing to the ‘same cash total in funds for farm support’ during of this Parliament’, they have given no detail of what this actually means.
“With 85% of Scotland’s agricultural area classed as less favoured, future support for farmers and crofters is crucial to ensure the economic viability and sustainability of these remote areas.”
LFASS 2018 payments are anticipated to begin in spring 2019.
The EU CAP regulations did not allow LFASS to continue unchanged in 2018, the options required either a move to Areas of Natural Constraint scheme or to maintain the LFASS scheme paying 80% of LFASS payment rate.
On 25 March, Mr Ewing announced hill farmers and crofters will receive a parachute payment in 2018 of 80% of their LFASS payment rate.
Since then, the EC proposed changes to CAP regulations, which included a delay to LFASS changes until 2019. Following further discussions, these regulations are expected to be adopted by the EU in January 2018.