Union welcomes prompt delivery of LFASS payments

NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement from Scottish Government that lifeline support for those farming in Scotland’s Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) will begin to arrive in bank accounts on Friday (13 March).

LFA payments give critical financial support to hill and upland livestock farmers and crofters, allowing them to continue grazing cattle and sheep in areas of Scotland that are naturally challenging.

The news that payment has now been authorised to approximately 88 per cent of those claiming under the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) is a welcome boost not only for those farmers and crofters receiving the payments, but also for Scotland’s rural economy as a whole. That will see £56.6 million delivered to hill farmers in the next few days with a commitment from Scottish Government to ensure outstanding payments are delivered as soon as possible.

Speaking from NFU Scotland’s LFASS Committee meeting in Perth, recently elected Chairman Martin Kennedy, a hill farmer from Highland Perthshire said: “The delivery of this support is a welcome boost to cash flows for Scotland’s farmers and crofters, as we emerge from winter and head towards lambing.

“Credit is due to the Scottish Government and its staff for maintaining its record on delivering LFASS payments on time, despite the current pressure on staff and systems from the shift to new support arrangements for 2015.

“LFASS is a hugely important source of funding for those farmers who are at the heart Scotland’s crucial livestock sector. With a new Rural Development Plan for Scotland emerging, we welcome reassurances that the future LFASS scheme will have activity, livestock production and the environment at its core and that funding for LFASS is ring-fenced.

“That commitment provides an anchor of support to the majority of Scottish farm businesses at a time when the delivery of direct support through Pillar One of the CAP is under severe pressure.

“However, we need to ensure that all LFASS businesses can access the scheme in the future and we welcome the progress outlined to ensure that any anomaly cases, where genuine LFASS businesses are currently frozen out of the existing scheme, will be swept up and included in the new LFASS scheme.”

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