Publication - Statistics

Bank advances to Scottish agriculture: 2017 survey results

Published: 11 Sep 2017
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Part of:
Farming and rural

Results of the survey of bank advances to Scottish agriculture, together with other relevant data regarding loans to agriculture.

Bank advances to Scottish agriculture: 2017 survey results
3. Other information relating to farm finances

3. Other information relating to farm finances

The following financial data is also available from different sources, for Scotland or the UK, and may be of interest;

3.1 Total Liabilities
Estimates of the total liabilities of Scottish agriculture, based on Farm Business Survey data, were published in table A13 of the 2017 Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture ( ERSA) spreadsheets, available at the link below:

In 2016, total liabilities stood at an estimated £2.7 billion, of which £1.6 billion (60 per cent) was from bank borrowing (split in favour of long-term). The remaining £1.1 billion came from hire purchase, leasing, family members and other sources. Total liabilities represented eight per cent of total assets.

3.2 Interest Payments
We receive quarterly returns of lending to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from the main banks and mortgage companies operating in Scotland. The results of this, along with the annual Bank Advances survey are used to estimate the cost of borrowing to feed into estimates of Total Income From Farming ( TIFF). In 2016, the total net cost of borrowing to the agriculture industry was estimated at £97 million.

3.3 Bank Borrowing by Farm Type and Tenure
The Farm Business Survey ( FBS) provides a more detailed insight into the pattern of bank borrowing across different farm types and tenures. The FBS is representative of larger farms above 0.5 standard labour requirements, excluding pig, poultry and horticultural farms. The latest available results from 2015-16, published in detail in the 2017 ERSA spreadsheets, show that the average farm had external liabilities of £146,000 of which bank loans and overdrafts accounted for £85,000. Bank borrowing ranged from £17,000 for Specialist Sheep LFA farms to £186,000 for Dairy farms. Table B11(d) of the accompanying dataset, which contains results across all farm tenures, is available at:

3.4 Bank Of England figures for the UK
In the UK as a whole, agriculture is one of only two sectors that have seen consistent growth in outstanding debt in recent years, at 57 per cent over the period 2010 to 2017.

Data from the Bank of England show that the outstanding Sterling and foreign currency loans by monetary financial institutions to UK ‘Agriculture, Hunting and Forestry’ (treated as one sector) rose four per cent between May 2016 and May 2017, to £18.5 billion. This followed increases of nine and six per cent the previous two years, making it the only sector to see growth in each of the last seven years. Utilities and individuals are the only other sectors that have seen increases in each of the last five years, with utilities being the only sector with growth comparable to agriculture.

Nearly all sectors saw increases between 2016 and 2017. Fishing saw by far the largest increases, with a 22 per cent increase. The overall total debt was up seven per cent since 2016, but down six per cent since 2010. These data are not adjusted for inflation.

Chart 4: Change in outstanding lending to UK businesses; comparison of May 2017 with May 2010 and with May 2016.

Chart 4: Change in outstanding lending to UK businesses; comparison of May 2017 with May 2010 and with May 2016.

See table 3 for data
Source: Table C1.2, “Total lending amounts out”


Email: Neil White,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

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