Scottish farming businesses will see support payments start to reach their bank accounts this week, two weeks ahead of last year’s first payments. 

Local authorities will be able to charge a premium of up to 100% on council tax for second homes under legislation aiming to increase the availability of housing.

If approved by Parliament, the secondary legislation would bring second homes into line with long-term empty homes, which can already be subject to a 100% premium on the full rate of council tax. Latest figures show that as at September 2022 there were 24,287 second homes in Scotland.

The first phase of a new initiative to identify and nurture new entrepreneurial talent has been launched.

Funding of up to £1.5 million will be delivered through the Pathways Pre-Start Fund this financial year to provide support, mentoring and advice services for people thinking about taking the first steps towards creating a start-up company. It will have a particular focus on closing the gender gap and widening participation in entrepreneurship, and is the first step to developing a pre-start network to bring more people into the entrepreneurship pipeline.

Tickets for the Scottish Agritourism Conference are released for general sale today.  

Applications are also open for twenty scholarship places, which Scottish Rural Network (SRN) are funding as part of our remit to encourage innovation in agriculture and to support the delivery of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan was published in 2019 and is now being reviewed as required by the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, which may lead to the publication of a new National Islands Plan. 

A fund designed to support local regeneration and sustainable development around Scotland’s coast has been launched by Crown Estate Scotland (CES).

The Sustainable Communities Fund, is made up of two different programmes. Total investment across the two programmes could reach £750,000 over the next three years.

Funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural Community-Led Fund, applications are being invited from constituted community groups, charities, co-operatives, public sector organisations, and micro and small sized enterprises throughout Angus (excluding the Cairngorms National Park area).  It can fund a range of activities which demonstrate positive community, social or environmental impacts.

A new report - 'Evidence to Support Development of a New Rural Support Scheme for Scotland: A summary of written outputs' - has been published.

The report covers twelve written separate reports. These provide evidence reviews, analysis, summaries and expert briefings on agriculture in Scotland, the purpose of which is to help shape future policy in order to deliver sustainable food production that tackles climate change and nature restoration.

Affordable housing supply in Shetland is set to receive a significant boost as an islands housing association has secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Hjaltland Housing Association will receive £20 million, which will enable the social landlord to start the project at Staneyhill in Lerwick this year.

Farmers in North Ayrshire, West Aberdeenshire and Orkney will have the opportunity to benefit from free business support via the Royal Countryside Fund (RCF) flagship 2023/24 Farm Resilience Programme which gets underway this autumn.