News / Pressure on government over crofting subsidies

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott on his visit to Shetland Farm Dairies to discuss changes to government subsidies.

THE SCOTTISH Government is facing renewed criticism of its treatment of crofters and farmers over changes to how it classifies agricultural land following a warning that the future of Shetland’s livestock mart is in doubt.

On Friday, Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) chairman Ronnie Eunson told Shetland News that sudden changes which devalued land would reduce subsidy levels by up to 90 per cent.

With the government already under fire for delaying Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments, Eunson said the greatest threat was posed by the downgrading of good agricultural land to rough grazing.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott says he is worried that the new CAP payment scheme may reduce the amount of government support isles crofters receive.

“Every part of Shetland agriculture is affected by these new CAP payments,” Scott said. “Shetland [Farm Dairies] is an essential part of the local industry. Local milk is a high quality product that people want to buy.


“But Shetland’s milk producers also have sheep and cattle. So their business depends on these new CAP payments.

“The marts chairman has illustrated that the cut to area payments for crofters devalues land across Shetland. That reduces the overall value of the Shetland agriculture industry.

“It is also very worrying that Shetland crofters have had their expected payments cut by a Scottish Government U-turn. How are croft businesses meant to judge cash flow when the government tell them one thing and do another?

On Monday the MSP was due to meet Eunson and management of Shetland Farm dairies, the collective of milk producers in the islands.

“I want to listen to the concerns today and then take these important points to government ministers later this week in Edinburgh,” he continued.

“Crofting is the backbone of Shetland life. The islands’ traditional industries matter. So for crofting to prosper we need a government who is on our side. Many Shetland crofters doubt that is the case.”

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 600 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.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.