A hoop-fenced finances for direct assist to upland farmers will probably be a “pink line” for NFU Scotland in talks over the Agriculture Invoice in Holyrood.
The union sees this funding as a successor to the Much less Favoured Space Help Scheme (LFASS), which at present supplies revenue assist to farm companies in distant and constrained rural areas.
LFASS, which can proceed till 2024, is designed to maintain farmers viable, scale back the chance of land abandonment, guarantee continued agricultural land use and keep sustainable farming programs.
See additionally: Scots authorities dismisses calls to replace LFA assist
Chatting with journalists on the Royal Highland Present, Jonnie Corridor, NFUS director of coverage, acknowledged the scheme would stop to exist below the brand new plans for four-tiered assist, however known as for comparable funds to be made obtainable below Tier 1.
“We’re unequivocal – and this will probably be one in every of our pink strains on the Agriculture Invoice – that there should be a part of deprived space assist that serves the identical function and goals as LFASS,” he mentioned.
“This should be written into the Invoice, so it’s an obligation on ministers to return. And it will need to have its personal ring-fenced finances as effectively, so we’re defending our uplands and extra deprived areas on this approach.
“We recognise that clearly the fee constructions are very totally different from different components of Scotland, not to mention the remainder of the UK.
“They want that further assist to retain the vitally vital in depth grazing programs now we have.”
Mr Corridor’s feedback come shortly after Shona Robison, the deputy first minister and finance secretary, confirmed that £33m, which was deferred from the Scottish farm finances final 12 months, is to be returned.
“The cash is coming again,” Mr Corridor mentioned. “The choice now we have to interact with the Scottish authorities on now could be how that cash goes to be spent.”