Farming: Call for farm support payments

Concerns over the impact of agflation on farm business cash flow have led to a call for the Scottish Government to bring forward crucial support payments.

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands

A letter to Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon calling for the move was signed by 11 organisations including NFU Scotland, AIC Scotland, National Sheep Association Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates and followed the recent announcement that English producers would receive half of their payment in July.

The letter warned that the unprecedented input cost inflation meant had led to many businesses considering reducing production - to the extent that the critical mass of Scotland’s agri-food sector was in jeopardy.

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“While there is no quick fix to the current crisis, there are mitigating actions that can be taken in addition to the steps the Scottish Government has already taken,” read the letter.

And although the Scottish Government had already announced that payments would begin in mid October, the organisations said that this could be too late:

“Right now, the key to safeguarding the food supply chain in Scotland, and all the allied businesses and associated jobs it underpins, is cash flow. Therefore, we are collectively calling on the Scottish Government to utilise all options at its disposal to pay the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening as soon as it possibly can. Such a step could help to build confidence across the industry.”

It stated that measures to reduce risk and build confidence, were needed to ensure that there was no further scaling back of production in Scotland’s agricultural sectors.

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