FARMING AND RURAL MATTERS: CONVERGENCE PAYMENTS UNDERWAY FOR LOCAL FARMERS

A shepherd feeds his flock and gathers his lambs in his arms on the way to the hills in Glen Fruin, above Helensburgh and Loch Lomond.

By Lucy Ashton

Farmers and crofters across in West Dunbartonshire, Loch Lomondside and Argyll and Bute will start to see additional money paid out to them by the end of the month as the second and final instalment of convergence funding is distributed.

Around 18,000 farmers and crofters will benefit from the support worth £71.8 million. This comes from a £160 million package the UK Government agreed to pay to rectify a ‘historic wrong’ relating to EU Common Agricultural Policy funding that it failed to pass on to Scotland between 2014-2020. The payment followed a sustained campaign by the Scottish Government and stakeholders.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, right,  said:  “I’m pleased to announce that we’re in a position to start paying the convergence money and provide additional support in these challenging times. Our farmers and crofters deserve this money and it is something that we fought hard to get.

“We’re continuing our pattern of improvement by making the convergence payments earlier than last year and we also commenced the LFASS 2020 payment runs two months earlier than the 2019 system payments.

“LFASS payments go to nearly 11,000 farmers and crofters in some of our more remote and marginalised areas, but because of EU rules the 2020 payment is only 40% of the 2018 rate. Last year I committed to use some of the convergence money to bring these vital payments back up to 2018 levels and that is what I have done.”

Auchengaich Farm in Glen Fruin above Loch Lomond and Helensburgh. Pictures by Bill Heaney

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