15 March 2002

Unions join up for battle over larger co-ops

Scottish relief as amendments to LFASS approved

SCOTTISH farmers should start receiving payments worth £61m under the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme from Monday (Mar 18).

The changes, proposed by the Scottish Executive in November, were rubber-stamped by the European Commission late last week, a month later than expected.

The changes to the scheme followed analysis of payments made last year, the first year of the new scheme of area-based payments that replaced the old Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowance headage payments.

By introducing a new top-up for beef cattle, altering payments for improved pasture and rough grazing, and limiting to £2500 the amount that individuals can gain in the LFASS compared with the final year of HLCAs, 55% of farmers will now receive more than they did under HLCAs.

And only a quarter will have to rely on the safety net, compared with 55% last year. &#42