New entrants and farming resilience schemes could benefit from convergence funding boost

Press Release

Greater support for young and new entrants could have been delivered by convergence funding, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

The rural business organisation welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that the first instalment of funding is to be delivered to Scottish farmers but added that it would like to have seen more discussion with the industry on where cash was targeted.

Stephen Young, Head of Policy at SLE, said: “After a long campaign to secure this funding, Scotland’s farmers will be delighted that the first tranche of convergence money is nearing distribution to their businesses.

“The government’s announcement states that a significant proportion will be going to those farming in our marginal and remote areas and this is to be welcomed, albeit that money is being used to top up LFASS support which was likely to be reduced to 80% of previous levels for 2020.

“That said, in many respects there are missed opportunities in this funding allocation. Scottish farming’s biggest issue is resilience and profitability – a small slice of this funding could have been used to deliver an element of knowledge exchange to tackle this concern.

“Similarly, we are concerned that this funding will only be used for existing payment recipients. Topping up the National Reserve with a small sum, open to all new entrants, would be perfect for investing in farming’s future.

“We would have liked to have seen greater discussion with the industry on this allocation and we would welcome the chance to do that before the second tranche is allocated. This may also present a good opportunity to intensify discussions on the future of upland, and all rural support more generally.”