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Relief felt as Scots LFA payments to continue

The Scottish Government has laid out its new regulations for farming ahead of the end of the EU Transition period on December 31.

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Relief felt as Scots LFA payments to continue

There were no shocks in the announcement, largely because any changes were well flagged up in advance, but there was, however, relief the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) will continue on a fully funded basis.

 

The Greening scheme along with its Environmental Focus Areas (EFA) requirements will continue into next year, but there are plans for fewer inspections across the board. The three-crop rule, which was never really appropriate for Scotland, will be dropped.

 

Announcing the new regime, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We have worked closely with stakeholders and listened to the farming and crofting communities to simplify the schemes we administer to make sure they are as efficient and simple as possible.


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"The Agriculture [Retained EU Law and Data] [Scotland] Bill gives us powers to continue Common Agricultural Policy payments after Brexit and make improvements.

 

“The changes for inspections focus on improving compliance through support, enhanced guidance, better targeting and reducing the volume of routine inspections.”

 

As regards the LFASS payments, Mr Ewing confirmed he would reverse the recent trend of annual reductions.

 

“This will allow LFASS payments to compensate farmers for income foregone and for additional costs linked to natural constraints, thus contributing to the maintenance of the countryside, as well as to the maintenance and promotion of sustainable farming systems.

 

"We continue to push for assurances that the UK Government will fully replace all lost EU funding,” he added.

 

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “It is positive to see the Scottish Government recognise the importance of retaining LFASS at the 2018 rates from next year onward."

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