Farm payment dates to be brought forward
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Annual farm payment dates are to be brought forward to September, in an effort to support Scotland’s farmers with cash flow and the cost of living crisis.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has confirmed that, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, farmers and crofters will receive their advance payment for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening around a month earlier than originally planned.
The decision follows a request from farming groups in Scotland to relieve immediate inflationary pressures and protect jobs in Scotland’s world-leading food and drink sector.
Following a review of the legislative, IT and budget requirements to bring the date forward, payments will now start to issue from 19 September 2022 instead of 16 October 2022.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Given the sharp rise in energy, fuel and fertiliser costs in recent months, I am acutely aware that businesses across Scotland are facing a hugely challenging increase in their bills.
“This is compounding the challenging operating environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the hard Brexit imposed on Scotland by the UK Government, which has inflicted significant and lasting damage on our world class food and drink industries, rural and coastal communities.
“That is why I have listened to the representations from the farming and crofting community and will bring forward the advance payment start date to as early in the year as is practicably possible. The intention is to support businesses, as far as possible, with immediate cash flow challenges.
“While the start date of payments may change, the target remains the same - to pay over 70 per cent anticipated expenditure by end December 2022 and 95.24 per cent anticipated expenditure by end February 2023.”
Annually, the Scottish Government pays out around £420 million through the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments.
In 2022 the Scottish Government’s farm payment strategy will see a transition away from providing manual loan payments to automated scheme advance payments.