Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has backed calls from NFU Scotland for the continuation of support schemes that provide vital income for farmers and crofters in island and remote rural areas.
The calls were made in NFU Scotland’s new policy document, ‘Less Favoured Areas- Delivering for Scotland,’ which has highlighted the value generated by farmers and crofters in less favoured areas, such as the islands, and proposed changes to the support schemes to enhance the targeting of support in these areas.
Mr McArthur has also lodged several parliamentary questions in recent weeks to seek assurances from the Scottish Government that funding will be made available for the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme going forward.
Orkney’s MSP commented:
“NFU Scotland’s new publication has underlined the significant contribution that farmers and crofters in communities like Orkney make to the success of our country’s farming sector.
“However, there is no shortage of challenges for those operating in less favoured areas, particularly at a time of uncertainty and with Brexit expected to hit the sector hard.
“This highlights the pressing need for funding through LFASS to be maintained and protected going forward. Farming communities need this certainty to help sustain and develop the sector in our most fragile areas and also continue to build rural cohesion.
“NFU Scotland is calling for the £65million budget for LFASS to be reinstated to ensure that suitable support is available post-Brexit. For farmers and crofters in island and remote rural areas that much needed financial stability will be critically important.
“I will continue to raise this with Ministers and press for clarity on the steps being taken to safeguard these vital support schemes.”