26 March 1999

Scots conversion grants

GRANTS to help Scottish farmers and crofters to convert redundant farm buildings for residential letting have been announced by the government.

From Mar 31, those in the Highlands and Islands can claim 50% grants up to £40,000 while in other qualifying areas of Scotland the same 50% will apply but with a ceiling of £25,000.

The variation is because the Highlands and Islands win EU Objective 1 aid while four other parts of Scotland qualify under Objective 5b. Also included in the revised schemes are grants for diversification into value-added horticultural crops.

It is emphasised that converted farm buildings cannot be let to the family of the owner, or be used as second homes. New buildings will not qualify for grant aid.

Applications close on Oct 31. Successful candidates will be made an offer of grant by the end of the year but will have two years to complete the project and claim the grant. &#42