Hill farmers in some of Scotland’s most remote areas will receive up to £57m as part of a fund loan of up to 90 percent of their Less Favoured Area Support Scheme entitlement.

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing confirmed the nationally-funded loan following criticism from farmers over Scottish government cuts to LFASS.

The scheme is seen as a vital financial boost to those farmers who are trying forge a living out of some of the hardest land in the country.

However, compulsory changes to EU regulations mean such payments must drop by 20% this year, but the SNP-led government has been criticised for going further.

Mr Ewing has confirmed that payments will begin in April, and farmers will be offered up to 90% of their LFASS.

He said: “I am therefore determined to provide as much financial support and stability as I can so all eligible farmers and crofters will be offered a loan of up to 90% of their 2018 entitlement, with payments beginning in April.

“More widely, I am working tirelessly on finding a solution to continue to deliver funding under LFASS at approximately 100% for this year and the next two scheme years within the context of changes to EU regulations and budgetary constraints.”

The Scottish government will be sending out offer letters in batches, the first offers will start to be sent from 1 March and will continue to be issued as claim eligibility is confirmed.

The full extent of eligible businesses is still being confirmed, but the Scottish government expects this to be remain at around the same level as the 2017 loan scheme when offers were made to just under 11,000 farmers and crofters.

Source: Farming UK