Most farmers and crofters will be receiving their single farm payments in their bank accounts on Tuesday – and the government has pleged to ensure that nine out of 10 producers get their money by the end of the year.
The prompt handout – this is the first day that payments are permitted under the European regulations – will inject more than £400 million into Scotland’s rural economy. The overall pot has grown by £88 million because of the weakness of the pound against the Euro, meaning most producers are likely to receive more money this year.
The announcement by the government was welcomed by NFU Scotland, whose chief executive James Withers said: “It is great news for Scottish farmers and crofters that the Scottish government has maintained its excellent record in getting lifeline [single farm payemts] out the door and into farmers’ bank accounts.
“This injection of funds into the country’s farm businesses is hugely important to rural communities as a whole and helps underpin the economic and environmental activity that farming generates.”
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: “These payments are always vital but never more so than in tough economic times. These prompt payments are another example of this government delivering for hard-pressed rural businesses. What’s more our payment timetable is ahead of the UK government’s, meaning Scottish farmers will be reaping the benefits of their single farm payments quicker than their counterparts in the south.”