Union Welcomes Early Loan Scheme Announcement Amid Ongoing Brexit Uncertainty

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed the early announcement that the National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NBPSS) will operate again this year, providing vital financial support for Scottish farmers and crofters at a time of great uncertainty.
calendar icon 26 July 2019
clock icon 2 minute read

Brexit concerns and the prospect of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU hangs over every sector of Scottish agriculture and market returns for produce are struggling.

As in 2018, the timetable for 2019 will see loan payment offers made to farmers and crofters in early September. It remains an opt-in scheme, with payments made to those eligible from early October, easing cash flows at a crucial time of year.

Importantly, this year will see loan offers at up to 95 percent of what scheme applicants are due as part of their Basic Payment Scheme 2019 payments – an increase of 5 percent on previous years – significantly boosting the expected cash injection into the rural economy this autumn.

According to Scottish Government figures, the 2018 loan scheme delivered payments worth more than a quarter of a billion Pounds to more than 13,500 farmers and crofters.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “News that the Scottish industry can expect a bigger injection of loan scheme money in October this year will help tackle the huge levels of uncertainty across all Scottish agriculture and address the holes that are appearing in business’ cash flows.

“Our recent survey, launched at the Highland Show in June, showed Brexit uncertainty weighs heavy on the majority of our farmers and crofters, and many have yet to undertake any degree of business planning for leaving the EU.

“Crucially, the survey highlighted that, ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’, only one in ten Scottish farmers and crofters were positive about their post-Brexit future.

“Brexit has already been a factor in the collapse of the beef price this summer. The annual store sales of calves and lambs will start next month when the potential for the UK crashing out of the EU in a deeply damaging ‘no deal’ still exists.

“Scotland’s harvest is also getting underway. While the prospects for quantity and quality are good, the market for Scottish cereals and oilseeds would undoubtedly be hit by a ‘no deal’ exit and the potential for tariffs to unfairly benefit imports.

“Knowing the loan scheme is coming will provide some much-needed reassurance to all farmers and crofters, helping anyone who needs to talk to their bank about borrowings get through these uncertain times.”

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