Loans for farmers to help mitigate the impact of Brexit will be available ahead of the UK leaving the EU, the Scottish Government has said.
Eligible farmers will be able to borrow up to 95% of their Basic Payment Scheme 2019 payments from early October, the Government has announced, as it warned of Brexit’s “potential catastrophic consequences” on Scotland’s rural economy.
Announcing the scheme, rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Farmers are the backbone of Scotland’s rural economy, and with the UK edging ever closer to leaving the EU without a deal, it is absolutely essential that we provide as much support and certainty as we can.
“That is why the Scottish Government will shortly be issuing loan offers, providing a degree of financial certainty during these tumultuous times.
“Recognising the potential catastrophic consequences of No Deal on our agricultural sector, I’m also confirming that loans will be offered at the increased rate of 95%, delivering more money to farmers through this mechanism than ever before.
“I believe there has never been a more important time for rural businesses to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are as prepared as possible for whatever Brexit outcome may be delivered.
“As such, I would encourage all eligible farmers, crofters and land managers to accept this offer to enable us to get your payment out to you as soon as possible.”
The Basic Payment Scheme, which would be replaced by the government loan, is available to farmers allocated payment entitlements based on the land they farm and the type of activity on the land.
The National Basic Payment Support Scheme will operate on an opt-in basis, offsetting against existing payments.
Loan letters will be issued in early September, with payments expected in early October.