NFU Scotland is reminding farmers and crofters that the deadline for applying to the Scottish Government’s National Loan Scheme is only a week away (12 October).
The loan scheme, announced by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing in September, has the potential to inject £300 million into the Scottish rural economy in early November and was introduced in response to a request made by NFU Scotland.
Around 17,300 farmers and crofters will have been notified of the scheme, which offers eligible businesses a sum equivalent to 80 percent of the Basic Support Scheme and Greening payments they would expect to receive from their claim to 2016 CAP schemes.
The loan scheme has been established at a time when farmer confidence in the troubled IT system being fit to deliver 2016 CAP payments remains low.
Several hundred Scottish farmers and crofters who have Region 3 land (hill ground) on their claim were initially misinformed of the value of the loan available to them. They will have been contacted by phone by Scottish Government officials last week, will receive a new claim letter and will have until 19 October to apply.
The Union is reminding all that, to receive the loan, they must opt in by signing, completing and returning a slip in a pre-paid envelope. Should they have any queries, the Union is urging them to contact the RPID Information Line on 0300 300 2222 or Email: nationalBPSscheme@gov.scot
NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “In light of the ongoing difficulties in delivering CAP monies, we wanted Scottish Government to do all it could to avoid a repeat of the crisis in the rural economy seen last spring.
“We suggested and welcome the introduction of this loan scheme for 2016 payments and urge all Scotland’s farmers and crofters to consider applying.
“The deadline for application for the vast majority is now only a week away – on 12 October – while those hill farmers and crofters who have been notified of an error on their original letter will have received a new loan claim form and have an extended deadline of 19 October.
“It is important for all to remember that it is an opt-in scheme and you must apply for this loan. Should farmers or crofters have any questions, I would urge them to contact the RPID Customer Information Line on 0300 300 2222 or nationalBPSscheme@gov.scot if they have queries about the proposals.”