Scottish upland farmers receive LFASS payments a month early

Farmers and crofters in the Scottish uplands have started receiving their money under the country’s Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme, which is hitting bank accounts ahead of schedule.

So far an estimated £55.8m has been processed – a month ahead of previous years – out of a total Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) budget of £65m.

According to the Scottish government, some 9,899 businesses are being paid in this first tranche, equating to almost 93% of eligible applications.

See also: Support payments to Scottish farmers unchanged for next year

Payments are based on the specific quality of the land, with a basic payment of £34/ha for less disadvantaged land and £52/ha for more disadvantaged land.

More money is paid for very fragile land, and degressivity adjustments are made for for larger recipients.

The average receipt under the scheme comes to about £5,640.

Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Despite the difficult financial circumstances we are faced with, the Scottish government has sought to protect financial support for our farmers – to provide cashflow certainty amid these extremely challenging times.”

Robert Macdonald, chairman of NFU Scotland’s Less Favoured Areas committee, said the timing could not be more important. 

“All farmers face a dear winter and unprecedented cost challenges for feed, fertiliser, energy and fuel.

“This support will ensure that those in our Less Favoured Areas will continue to deliver for the rural economy, local jobs, landscapes, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.”

A recent budget announcement from the Scottish government also confirmed a rollover of the existing funds for the Basic Payment Scheme, “greening payments” and LFASS into 2023.