Calls for change to £65m scheme

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CHANGES to the £65 million dispersed annually through the less favoured area support scheme (LFASS) could help those farmers keeping livestock and those coming into the industry, according to Jonny Hall, NFU Scotland policy manager.

Although there is a major European Union review of LFASS to come in three years time, Hall said the Scottish Government could look at a better method distributing the money now.

Hall’s plan would see payments made on the levels of livestock kept last year, rewarding the more active farmers and reducing the level of support going to those in the opposite camp.

Speaking on a visit to Mull, Hall said: “Updating the livestock figures that make up LFASS calculations and basing them on 2012 returns would free up funds from those who are now less active or inactive.

“That could allow for increased payments to those continuing to run their suckler herds and hill flocks in disadvantaged areas without impacting on the £65m budget that the Scottish Government has pledged to retain.”

Hall also said would support those who had recently come into the industry