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New Research on the Support for Crofting Published


A new piece of research, Support for Crofting, has today been published by the Crofting Commission.

The research was commissioned by the Commission earlier in the year and was prepared by Mr. Gwyn Jones who is a director on the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism.

The focus of the report was to analyse the current agricultural and environmental support for crofting, while examining the feasibility of creating any new forms of support more specific to crofting. In particular it looked at the following two points:

  • examine the extent to which the support payments currently available to crofters are sufficient to achieve the Scottish Government’s objectives for crofting and the sustainability of the crofting system
  • identify alternative support systems that might achieve these objectives to a greater extent in the future.

Welcoming the research, Crofting Commission Convener, Rod MacKenzie said: “The prospect of Brexit has triggered a debate on the future of the support systems for crofting and farming, a vital issue which will affect crofters and crofting businesses for years to come. That is why we commissioned Gwyn Jones to examine these issues from the crofting perspective, and the Commission is very grateful for his evidence-based analysis and his constructive suggestions.”

“The issues raised by Gwyn Jones are extremely important, and we hope that everyone involved in the debate will consider them carefully. The Commission will make clear our own position next month, in our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation, Stability and Simplicity.”

The report highlights the handicaps for the smaller-scale producer within the existing support system, and the lack of incentive(s) to operate or to continue within the system. While croft land continues to be claimed for, claims are made from a declining number of crofters. The report also indicates that this is contrary to crofting policy and the objectives of crofting legislation; which is to encourage more, not fewer, active crofters.

The report goes on to make a series of recommendations as to how current measures could be adjusted and new support mechanisms provide for greater consideration of the smaller-scale producer. It does not advocate a case for an overall croft specific system but considers that the crofting scale has to be more appropriately considered in revised supports structures. In particular, it advises that any new policy should provide minimum payments that reward activity and should also make it less complex to claim for small amounts of support and grants. At the same time basic support mechanisms should be designed to ensure they complement and can integrate with more advanced programmes. It also recommends more encouragement to retain small cattle herds and to ensure cropping to increase diversity ecologically and economically.

The full report can be found here.

An Executive Summary of the report can be found here.


Covid -19

The Commission is now accepting new applications, but as all staff continue to work from home and the office remains closed, these will be processed more slowly than usual. Any applications that relate to statutory deadlines, or which concern a Crofting Register form to notify the Commission that an event has taken place, will be given priority over other applications.

Where applications require a site visit, it will not be possible for any site visit to be carried out until the government eases the current restrictions on movement.Where any application involves a hearing, no hearings will take place until the current restrictions on movement are eased and the government has advised that public meetings (with appropriate physical distancing) can take place.

Approved Applications:

If you are a crofter who has had an application approved by the Commission within the last 3 months
Please read this important information regarding effecting Commission regulatory decisions.

You can continue to contact us by email and although we are now in a position to deal with phone calls to our reception line, few staff have access to work phones to make return calls and therefore the service will be limited. We would therefore ask that you continue to contact us via email.

The Commission understands that this is a difficult time for all concerned, but we wish to reassure crofters and their agents that we will continue to work to restore normal levels of service. It is unlikely that this can be fully restored until the government permits offices to reopen and for various restrictions on movements and meetings to be eased.
20 May 2020.

Crofting Commission, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NW


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