MSP seeks meeting with new crofting minister

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Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has requested an urgent meeting with incoming Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, to discuss the future of crofting in the Western Isles.

Specifically, he will raise the question of Common Grazings Committees’ ability in future to hold funds.

This follows the removal of Grazings Committees and appointment of Grazings Constables in Mangersta late last year and Upper Coll earlier this year.

Mr Allan commented: “There is clearly a real concern amongst crofters about what has happened in Upper Coll and Mangersta and the impact these decisions by the Crofting Commission will have on the future of crofting.

“Grazings Committees need to be able to hold, and make use of, common funds if they are to function effectively.

“If the implication of the Crofting Commission’s ruling is that virtually all the income many Grazings committees have access to has to be distributed to individual shareholders, the precedent set here will make it very difficult for Grazings Committees to operate.

“This underlines just how complicated Crofting Law has become, not least the regulations regarding Common Grazings Committees.

“I have sought an urgent meeting with the new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, to outline the huge sense of anxiety that exists within crofting communities regarding the Croft Commission’s recent actions.”