The Scottish Government remains firmly committed to securing a sustainable future for crofting, Ministers have said. The assurance was given by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead and Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, during a meeting with the Scottish Crofting Federation.
The impact of CAP reform on crofting, developing the sector to secure its future, growing the number of new entrants and Government support to crofting – including the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme (CCAGS) and the Croft House Grant Scheme – were among the items discussed.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The Environment Minister and I had a very positive and constructive meeting with the Scottish Crofting Federation in which we discussed wider crofting interests and CAP reform. The Scottish Government fought hard in last year’s CAP negotiations to head off proposals that would have disadvantaged crofting and we must continue with this approach as we implement CAP reform in Scotland. In light of the legislative and regulatory requirements on crofting we are sympathetic to the case for specific support for this sector, and I am therefore minded to look at having a separate scheme for crofting in the new rural development programme. The Scottish Government recognises the wider benefits of crofting to rural communities, food production and managing Scotland’s magnificent natural environment, and we are firmly committed to developing the sector to secure its future.”
Patrick Krause, Chief Executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation said: “We had a very positive discussion about some of the main issues facing crofting today, and the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to the sector is very welcome. It is great news that the Rural Affairs Secretary is sympathetic to the case for a separate support scheme for crofting in the new rural development programme, and we look forward to his final decision on that. We also look forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to find practical ways in which we can develop crofting, in particular improving access to land, work and homes, and getting more young people into crofting.”