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- Farming and rural
Rural Affairs Secretary updates financial providers on payment schedule.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has met with representatives of some of Scotland's main banks to update them on the timescale for making direct farm payments.
It comes after Mr Lochhead confirmed that in this first year of implementing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, the Scottish Government is on track to begin delivering payments at the end of December.
To avoid unnecessary delays, Scottish farmers will receive this year's direct funding in two instalments, with the initial payment worth a minimum of 70 per cent of the total value - as happened when Single Farm Payments were introduced back in 2005.
Following today's meeting, Mr Lochhead said:
"This was a very positive meeting, where I was able to update the banks on the Scottish Government's timescale for making direct farm payments in this first year of implementing the biggest and most complex CAP reform we have ever had.
"Of course, the administrative challenge involved in delivering this CAP reform is well known and I was reassured to hear about the support for farmers already being offered by the banks.
"As well as providing clarity about the payment schedule we are working to, I have confirmed that the Scottish Government will shortly be writing to farmers to give an indication of how much we estimate their payments are likely to be worth for the next few years, subject to the necessary checks being carried out.
"This will provide the banks with the information they need to be able to offer their customers an appropriate level of support. The banks agreed to encourage all producers to consider their cash flow position and, if they have any concerns, to contact their bank as soon as possible."
Today's meeting with Mr Lochhead was attended by representatives of Clydesdale Bank, HSBC, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland plus the banks' trade body The Committee of Scottish Bankers (CSCB).
The EU payment window runs from 1 December to June. The first direct farm payments, to about a quarter of claimants, should start to arrive in bank accounts by the end of the year. The majority of farmers should receive their initial payment by the end of January, with all first instalments expected to be paid by the end of March. The balance of payments is due be settled in April. See: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Farm-payments-timetable-1f64.aspx