Fresh funding for Scottish farming has been announced as part of a £160 million investment package.
FARMERS TO RECEIVE Â£80M FUNDING BOOST
By Lewis McKenzie, PA Scotland Political Reporter
An initial £80 million has been pledged towards active farming, with a focus on those who work in Scotland's marginal uplands, hill farms and island areas.
The cash was made available by the UK Government to address what has been described by the Scottish Government as a "historic wrong" relating to EU Common Agricultural Policy funding - which was not passed on to Scotland between 2014 and 2020.
Last month, Chancellor Sajid Javid confirmed the UK would return the £160 million in funding that had been due to be paid to Scotland.
It comes after the last CAP reform when the UK qualified for a £190 million uplift because of Scotland's low average rate per hectare.
A total of only £30 million was allocated to Scotland at the time.
Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing welcomed the funding ahead of the UK's exit from the EU.
"Brexit is by far the biggest threat to farming and this funding will help provide some security during these uncertain times," he said.
"This will then enable them to invest in their businesses, pay down debt and ultimately drive the rural economy forward.
"I have given careful consideration in deciding this approach and would like to thank everyone for their support and suggestions on how best to fairly allocate this money over the last couple of weeks.
"This approach respects the spirit in which this money was intended, and will, as far as we can achieve, close the gap in support between Scottish farmers and crofters and the EU average."
Mr Ewing said the approach taken for allocating funding would help get money to where it needs to be.
"In allocating this funding, I am conscious of the need to adhere to the spirit and original premise of convergence," he said.
"This approach ensures that the money goes to where it was originally intended - with a significant proportion going to those farming in our marginal and remote areas.
"This funding will also meet my commitment to maintain support for farmers and crofters in the Less Favoured Area.
"I believe this approach gets the money to where it needs to be and will result in all eligible farmers and crofters either increasing or significantly increasing the money in their bank accounts."