According to the group, LFA farmers and crofters are set to see their “vital payments” cut by 20% in 2019, followed by a possible 80% cut in 2020. The Scottish government has said it is unable to provide any certainty beyond 2019 and put this down to a lack of clear assurances from the UK government on post-Brexit guarantees.
NFU Scotland said the LFASS payments are vital to Scottish farming and crofting businesses, and the Scottish government needs to continue to provide support at its current level of £65m through 2019 and 2020.
NFU Scotland LFA committee chairman Robert Macdonald said: “It was good to welcome the cabinet secretary to the meeting today and hear directly from farmers and crofters on just how these proposed cuts will affect them, their businesses and their communities. LFASS payments provide a vital financial boost to farmers and crofters who are trying forge a living out of some of the hardest land in the country.
“For them to lose out on any of this support would not only be devastating for their businesses but also for the natural environments which they tend to. We have made Mr Ewing fully aware of our concerns today and he has been given a great deal of food for thought as he returns to Holyrood.”
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, added: “Farmers and crofters in these disadvantaged areas provide a vast array of economic, environmental and social benefits to not only their local communities but also Scotland as a whole.
“The essential LFASS payment does not just support farmers and crofters in rural areas but also the surrounding communities, getting reinvested into local businesses and almost immediately supporting the rural economy, providing employment and opportunities.”