MSP meets with Cabinet Secretary over crofters’ payments

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Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, met with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, earlier this week to raise the concerns of crofters in the islands about delays on the processing of Basic Payment Scheme payments.

Mr Allan commented: “There have been widely acknowledged delays to the processing of Basic Payment Scheme payments (the successor to the Single Farm Payment Scheme) and I have already raised the concerns brought to me by a number of individual crofters about this.

“I took the chance to question the Cabinet Secretary on provisions for those experiencing hardship resulting from delays in the system, and he confirmed that those crofters should contact the helpline on 0300 300 2222 to make a case for their applications being prioritised.

“Across Scotland, around a third of farmers and crofters have had the first instalment of this years grant paid and, with additional staff working extra hours, this figure is rising.

“The Cabinet Secretary’s intention is that as much as possible of the rest will be paid by the end of next month, with everyone else paid by the end of April.

“However, as the Cabinet Secretary acknowledged, that is dependent on administrative systems keeping up with the payments process. If any crofter wishes to contact me about their own situation I am very willing to pursue it with the Government.”