Local MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed news that a Scottish Government-backed loan scheme to ease cash flow issues in Scottish agriculture has opened for applications.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced last week that the Scottish Government is making £20million available to help farmers and crofters facing hardship whilst waiting for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.
The Scottish Government is continuing to process claims seven days a week and as of last Wednesday had made almost 8,000 payments.
This figure equates to more than 43 per cent of eligible claims.
Ms Grahame said this week: “Farm payments remain the priority of the government but some farmers and crofters are still waiting and are therefore facing financial hardship as a result.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has put this fund in place as a safety net until all of the payments can be processed.”
She continued: “Any farmer in my constituency who feels they are in financial difficulty is being asked to first contact their bank, which have offered to help more by, for example, waiving set-up fees.
“In light of this, the Scottish Government scheme is being targeted at those in genuine financial need but who cannot get support through their normal bank.”
She added: “If their request for assistance through their bank is declined they can then contact the Scottish Government for a fast-tracked interest-free advance worth 60% of their CAP claim to tide them over until their payment comes through.
“I’m sure hard-pressed farmers will welcome this emergency funding, which is interest free, as a stop-gap measure before they receive their CAP payment.”