The distribution of millions of pounds of convergence funding will be capped at £55,000 per recipient, and an extra £10 million of funding for crofters will be mainly given to producers on Region 3 land.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing made the comments in Holyrood yesterday while updating Parliament on the progress of farm payments.
Convergence uplift is additional Common Agricultural Policy funding allocated to the UK to bring Scotland’s per-hectare subsidy average up. At the time of its allocation, not all the money came to Scotland and Chancellor Sajid Javid vowed to “correct that decision” by awarding £160 million to Scots farmers last year.
Mr Ewing previously revealed his spending plans for £80m of the total convergence funding pot and said all eligible producers would receive a share, but the bulk would go to those farming Region 2 and 3 land.
Yesterday Mr Ewing said a cap would be applied to the Basic Payment element of this funding. “In allocating this funding, I am acutely aware of the need to adhere to the spirit of convergence and ensure this money goes to where it was originally intended,” said Mr Ewing.
He said the £55,000 cap would prevent excessive payments and ensure an appropriate level of support to larger, more productive businesses.
Mr Ewing also told Parliament yesterday that an additional £10m from the total £160m convergence package, awarded to crofters, would be weighted towards those on the poorest land with 70% destined for Region 3.
“This funding will be paid by the end of March,” added Mr Ewing.
Scottish Conservative shadow rural economy secretary Peter Chapman called for clarity on how a shortfall in the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) budget would be filled.
Mr Chapman said: “Does the cabinet secretary intend to use £42m of the remaining £70m of convergence funding to fill the shortfall in LFASS payments, bearing in mind this shortfall should have been funded from the Scottish Government budget?”