Farmers and crofters have been told subsidy support loans will be made available to them regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing made the comments in response to concerns about the impact of the UK’s exit from Europe on payments through the National Basic Payment Support loan scheme.
“Let me be absolutely clear, should an individual or business accept our loan offer, they will receive their entitlement regardless of the eventual Brexit outcome,” said Mr Ewing.
“I can also reassure people that should they accept a loan offer, we would expect to recover the loan against Cap (Common Agricultural Policy) payments. We will not be seeking early repayment from recipients in the event of no deal.”
The loan scheme offers eligible producers interest-free loans for up to 95% of their 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments. This is up 5% on the amount offered in last year’s loan scheme.
Farm subsidy loan schemes were introduced in response to problems with the Scottish Government’s farm payments IT system.
Mr Ewing added: “I continue to urge all eligible farmers, crofters and land managers to accept their loan offer. With payments beginning in early October, the sooner we receive their acceptance form, the sooner we can get their payment out to them.”
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick backed Mr Ewing’s plea and encouraged all producers to make use of the loan scheme.
He said: “I have already signed and returned my loan scheme offer and I urge all those who have received an offer to do likewise.
“Knowing the loan scheme funding is coming in October will provide some much-needed reassurance to all farmers and crofters and deliver a hugely valuable cash injection into Scottish agriculture that we know will benefit the whole rural economy.”