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- Farming and rural
Thousands have fewer forms to fill in.
Thousands of Scottish farmers now have fewer forms to fill in as a result of Scottish Government efforts to reduce agricultural red tape.
Under EU rules, livestock keepers are required provide information to the Scottish Government each year. This has previously been collected through the Sheep and Goat Annual Inventory in January as well as the annual December Agricultural Survey.
In line with Brian Pack's recommendations on reducing red tape, the Scottish Government has now merged the surveys - which means 5,700 livestock keepers only have to complete one form instead of two.
And, for the first time, farmers will also have the option this year of submitting their returns online through the SCOTEID website – although paper forms will continue to be sent out if needed.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"The Scottish Government is firmly committed to cutting red tape for farmers and crofters, whose focus should be on producing food for our tables rather than filling in forms.
"To reduce the bureaucratic burden we already source agricultural census data from the Single Application Form and Cattle Tracing System.
"Now – in line with Brian Pack's recommendations - we have gone one step further and merged the Sheep and Goat Annual Inventory with the December Agricultural Survey. This change will benefit almost 6,000 livestock keepers who've previously had to fill in two forms every year.
"We're also giving farmers for the first time this year the option of submitting this information online. These new changes should make it easier, simpler and quicker for farmers to meet their legal requirements under EU rules.
"The Scottish Government and our agencies – through the RAFE Delivery Board – will continue to seek further ways of reducing red tape for Scottish agriculture both here at home and to push for greater action at EU level."
Forms must be completed by Tuesday, 15 December 2015.
Details of how to access the surveys online will be sent to farmers with their survey documentation. The website for submitting the forms online is at www.scotEID.com/survey
The Scottish Government has previously accepted the vast majority of Brian Pack's red tape review recommendations. See http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Reducing-red-tape-1ad3.aspx