The Scottish Government has said that the majority of Scottish farmers will receive their single farm payment as soon as the payment window opens next Monday (1 December).

Around £223m is expected to be paid into accounts that day and by the end of December, the Scottish Government has apparently pledged to have paid 95% (20,200 businesses) of eligible producers, worth £427m.

NFU Scotland president, Jim McLaren said the money would bring a great sense of relief to farmers, particularly as the collective debt on Scottish farms had grown to £1.4bn this year as producers struggled to cover higher input costs and interest rates.

“The financial strain on many farms has had a significant impact on confidence levels within businesses. Receiving the SFP, in full and on time, will provide some respite and must allow farmers to look ahead.

“Confidence levels on many units are low. Our recent survey on farmer intentions suggests that more than 40 percent of Scottish farmers plan to reduce their production this year.”

Mr McLaren said the next area for prompt payment of support was the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme.

“Our LFA Committee will sit down with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead on Monday (1 December). While discussing the future arrangements for LFA in Scotland, this unique meeting between a Union committee and a cabinet minister is also likely to include discussion on the need for LFA payments to be made as a matter of urgency. We hope the Cabinet Secretary is in a position to deliver further good news at the start of next week.”

For farmers in England the Rural Payments Agency has said it aims to make full single payment scheme payments as soon as possible after the payment window opens on 1 December to farmers whose claims have been validated.

In Wales rural affairs minister Elin Jones announced that 80% of farmers would receive their payments by Christmas.