Thursday, 3 February 2011

Farming Payments Being Treated As Priority


SNP candidate for the new Banffshire & Buchan Coast constituency Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed an assurance from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead that payments from the Less Favoured Areas Supper Scheme (LFASS) to farmers hit by the recent severe weather are being treated as a priority.

Part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP), LFASS provides support to farmers in areas where production conditions are extremely difficult and have been further hampered by snow and ice.

Farmers should expect payments to commence no later than the end of February.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"LFASS funding is vital to the upkeep of farms in those areas and to the livelihoods of those who farm them. Farmers in those areas have had to contend with some of the worst winter weather experienced in over 50 years. I therefore very much welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to treat these payments as a top priority.”

Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"EC regulations stipulate that we must complete all inspections in less favoured areas before any payments can be made. The same freezing conditions experienced by farmers made it impossible for officials to travel to remote rural areas and complete the necessary checks for over a month. We had very real concerns about the health and safety of inspectors, and the farmers involved in inspections.

"Nonetheless, I want to reassure farmers that officials are treating the payments as an absolute priority, pulling out all the stops to ensure checks are completed as soon as possible and money starts to hit bank accounts by the end of February.

"This follows on from the speedy payment of Single Farm Payments, where 96 per cent of farmers have now been paid."


LFASS is a funding mechanism under the SRDP designed to support farming in areas where production conditions are difficult. Its objectives are to:
  • Offset the impact of permanent natural handicaps on production costs;
  • Combat depopulation of rural areas;
  • Protect and maintain the countryside and environment.
85 per cent of Scotland's agricultural area has less favoured area status, and of this 98 per cent is classified as severely disadvantaged.

LFASS eligibility is based on individual farmers' circumstances. As a result, claims require manual processing and payments will be made over a period of several weeks.

Farmers with outstanding LFASS eligibility queries or who have not provided current bank account details should contact their local Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (RPID) office.

For more information on LFASS visit
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