Direct support for Scotland’s farmers and crofters
Scottish farming businesses will see support payments start to reach their bank accounts this week, two weeks ahead of last year’s first payments.
A key commitment in the 2023-24 Programme for Government, the initial payments are worth approximately £288 million in total and will be paid to over 13,000 businesses across Scotland.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“I am determined to support Scotland’s farmers and crofters, who are the backbone of our nation, as we transition from the EU’s CAP Payment system to a support framework that realises our vision for Scotland to be a global leader in sustainable agriculture.
“That’s why, unlike in England, we are ensuring stability by maintaining direct payments. And to help businesses with cost pressures, we legislated last year to allow the start date of the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments to be brought forward to September 2022, paying out £419 million in the year to August 2023 in support to Scottish farmers and crofters.
“As set out in our Programme for Government, this year we have also started payments in September, to provide farmers and crofters with much-needed financial security. In the coming year we will pay Scottish farmers and crofters £550 million, including a fresh round of Agri-Environment Climate Scheme funding, to support actions to tackle climate change, cut emissions, and restore nature.”
The 2023 Rural Payments Strategy published in February made a commitment to commence BPS and Greening advance payments in September. Processing of these payments has started and will begin to reach farmers and crofters bank accounts from Tuesday 12 September. The Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division staff will continue to work through remaining payments as soon as possible over the coming weeks.
The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) was launched to promote land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
It was announced in the 2023-24 Programme for Government (PfG) that a new round of AECS will open in 2024 to support actions to tackle climate change, cut emissions, and restore nature.
To date £285 million has been committed to over 3,000 businesses through AECS to fund a range of activities that help to maintain and enhance our rich and varied natural environment.