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Almost all crofting subsidies paid out

ALMOST every crofter and farmer in Shetland has received their main subsidy payment from the Scottish government, according to the local office of the government’s Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate (RPID).

Only 33 applications for funding under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme have still to be paid out, out of around 1,000 that were submitted.

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Producers throughout the highlands and islands have complained about late payments, exacerbating the financial pressure on top of a harsh winter and rising fuel and feed costs.

Scottish Crofting Federation president Eleanor Arthur, from Whalsay, said that she had been told around 1,300 people across the crofting counties were still waiting for payments earlier this month.

“There must be a lot of crofters and farmers actually in the red by a long piece now,” she said.

However Shetland has not experienced the harsh winter weather that hit the Scottish mainland, where some places experienced 18 inches of snow earlier this month.

The Lerwick NFUS office said that a lot of people had only received their payments this month, but there were no cases of hardship that they knew of in the isles.

Some people had complained to the RPID office that they had not been paid, when the money had been put into their bank accounts, as the government chose not to inform people by letter that their payments had gone through.

Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott began his election campaign in the isles by urging rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead to initiate an urgent investigation into the delays.

 

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