Crofters and farmers being penalised over land claims
The Scottish government is penalising Shetland crofters and farmers over the land they use to claim agricultural support payments, according to MSP Tavish Scott.
He said local crofting and farming bodies and individual crofters had been in touch with him regarding the matter, which he hoped to raise with the agriculture minister.
The penalties were being levied on producers whom the Scottish government said had over-claimed for the area of land that was crofted and farmed, Mr Scott said, and he asked that local people affected get in touch.
Mr Scott said: “Under these rules many local crofters and farmers feel that they are guilty until proven innocent. I am very worried that for some, the penalties being levied could drive a crofter or farmer out of business. I know of one farmer who could face government penalties running into tens of thousands of pounds.
“I’ve spoken to the president of NFU Scotland who recognises how serious this is for Shetland and will help which is very welcome. I would encourage local crofters and farmers to get in touch with me and their unions so that we can pursue this with the government on their behalf.
“I have been in touch with the agriculture minister’s office today and hope to meet him later this week as the situation is very serious indeed for many Shetlanders. In the meantime it is essential that all crofters and farmers in this position appeal any potential penalty they face. The impact of the government’s actions here could be very serious on the Shetland agricultural industry.”