Budget protects rural and island economy
A total of £964 million has been allocated to the Rural Affairs and Islands portfolio in the Scottish budget.
More than £620 million will provide ongoing agricultural support ensuring stability to farmers, crofters and land managers in 2023-24.
It comes as the first tranche of the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme payments are set to arrive in bank accounts ahead of schedule before Christmas.
The National Test Programme, which is helping farmers and crofters achieve statutory emissions targets, will see year two funded with £20 million.
Less Favoured Area Support Scheme payments are being made a month ahead of previous years and total £55.8 million.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon said:
“Our farmers and crofters are vital to Scotland’s economy and the Scottish Budget 2023-24 reflects that. Despite the difficult financial circumstances we, like governments all over the world, are faced with, the Scottish Government has sought to protect financial support for our farmers - to provide cash flow certainty amid these extremely challenging times.
“In addition, £405.5 million of Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments have already been made to 17,001 farmers and crofters. Within the latest budget, those working the land in the most remote and fragile areas will continue to receive support through the Less Favoured Areas Scheme, which has been allocated £65 million.”
“Our ambition to make Scotland a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture is underlined by £44 million of funding.”
The first tranche of LFASS 2022 payments have been processed and will start to arrive in bank accounts from 21 December 2022, ahead of schedule - 9,899 businesses paid equating to 92.65% of eligible applications. £55,850,397.76 issued equating to 90.19% of anticipated expenditure.