‘Wrong reasons’ to cut crofters grant budget

Croft grants have been cut from �14m to �12m
Croft grants have been cut from �14m to �12m

Iain Maciver, the Factor of the Stornoway Trust, believes the decision to cut the the budget for the Crofters Agricultural Grant Scheme is being done for the wrong reasons.

Speaking to the Gazette this week he commented on the news announced by the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing MSP.

He said: “I know of many crofters who fear for the future of what once was regarded as a crofter friendly grant aid package which helped effectively sustain active land use practices across the crofting counties.

“It is therefore a concern that justification for a reduction in its budget is being blamed on its under use rather than focussing on the underlying reasons behind why some are unable to access grants due to what they believe to be unattractive and onerous requirements of the current scheme.”

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has also hit out at the decision.

He blasted: “This news just adds insult to injury for crofters. First crofters are being told that they won’t be given proper representation on the SNP’s new team of rural advisors and now they are being told that a scheme set up to support crofting will be cut.

“The SNP are taking rural Scotland for granted and it’s no wonder that voters across the Highlands are deserting a nationalist Government who are more obsessed with delivering for the Central Belt rather than supporting the interests of rural Scotland”.