Thursday, 10 February 2011


News release

Immediate release


Highlands and Island SNP MSP Rob Gibson has warmly welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government which is good news for Crofters.

Mr Gibson said that the decision to target the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme (CCAGS) exclusively towards Scotland's crofters, with non-crofters no longer eligible to
apply, is great news for crofters and crofting communities.

As from the 1st of April 2011All crofters, whether tenants or owner-occupiers, will now be treated equally with the removal of the Economic Status Test (EST).

The move was first announced in 2008 in response to the Shucksmith Committee of Inquiry on Crofting, which sought to secure a sustainable future for crofting communities.

It is part of a wider package of changes due to come into effect on April 1, which include:

* extending CCAGS to the whole of the Highlands and Islands

Enterprise area;

* providing a 10 per cent uplift to support new entrants to crofting; and

* enabling CCAGS support for the new category of crofting tenant under a short lease of an owner-occupied croft, introduced by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

Farmers with a similar economic status to crofters who wish to apply for CCAGS funding have until February 28, 2011 to submit an EST before the change is introduced. They are still eligible
to apply for funding under alternative schemes, including Rural Priorities.

"The specific targeting of CAGS to crofters will make a real and positive difference to the crofters and those in the communities. this is a welcome move from the SNP Scottish

Government which shows that it cares for the future well being of crofting and crofting communities."

"it will make sure that the money goes to the people who need it the most."

"The package announced today is a good deal for crofters. crofters play a vital role in shaping much of the rural and remote areas of the Highlands and Islands. The removal of Economic Status Test (EST) from the scheme means that all crofters, whether tenant or owner-occupier crofters, will be treated equally."

"Non-crofters will still be able to access capital grants to improve their holdings under Rural Priorities, and they also have the option to retain access to both CCAGS and Rural Priorities by converting their landholdings to crofting tenure."

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