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.
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.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 530 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News