Holyrood’s farming loan scheme set to close today

NFU Scotland policy chief Jonnie Hall said farmers needed a clear timetable for outstanding payments. Picture: Contributed
NFU Scotland policy chief Jonnie Hall said farmers needed a clear timetable for outstanding payments. Picture: Contributed
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The 2016 National Basic Payment Support Scheme – the loan scheme underwritten by the Scottish Government that has paid out roughly 80 per cent of monies due to individual businesses under the main common agricultural policy farm support scheme – closes today.

The scheme was introduced last November to ensure that funds reached producers in the face of on-going problems with the new IT system, following the near-collapse of the entire rural economy when 2015 funds were still not delivered in the spring of last year.

Announcing today’s closure, the Scottish Government said that the move would allow resources to be focused on completing the task of processing the full 2016 basic payment scheme (BPS) and greening claims.

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The loan scheme was hailed at its launch as a “hugely valuable and welcome” injection of cash into the country’s rural economy by NFU Scotland.

However, the union said yesterday that while it welcomed the news that the focus would now be on processing full payments, farmers urgently required a clear statement on when that process would be completed.

“For those who have taken up the loan scheme, it would give them a realistic expectation of when the balance payments [worth approximately 20 percent of their claim] will be made,” said the union’s policy chief, Jonnie Hall.

He added that movement on actual payments would also be of huge significance to those who, for whatever reason, had not taken advantage of the loan.

“For them, the full value of their BPS and greening payment is outstanding, making a clear timetable invaluable to their business,” Hall said.

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