LFASS support into 2020 confirmed

Dervaig landscape
Norette Ferns

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has confirmed that hill farmers and crofters in Scotland's most remote areas will continue to receive support under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme into 2020.

The Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) provides essential income support to farming businesses in remote and constrained rural areas.

Funding is used to:

  • allow farmers and crofters to continue to operate as viable businesses
  • avoid the risk of land abandonment
  • help maintain the countryside by ensuring continued agricultural land use
  • maintain and promote sustainable farming systems

Following compulsory changes to regulations governing LFASS made by the European Commission, LFASS support will be retained at 80% in 2019 and 40% in 2020 – the only part of the UK to continue such a payment.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

"LFASS is crucial for our hill farmers and crofters operating in some of our most remote and marginalised areas. That is why I am pleased to confirm they will continue to receive payments at 80% and 40% into 2020.

"I fully accept that this is not ideal, but under changes to EU regulations there is no option but to revise payment rates down. Importantly, we are clear this change will not impact on those who receive the minimum payment of £385, which is not being reduced.

"Our hill farmers and crofters continue to face significant challenges from both adverse weather and Brexit uncertainties and we are already seeing reduced livestock numbers and land abandonment.

"Therefore, I will continue to strongly push for further revisions and have submitted proposed amendments to give more flexibility in setting the rates for 2020 – a move I fully expect the UK Government to support."

Visit the Scottish Government website for more information.