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Ewe Hogg Scheme to Open this Week but Rules to Stay the Same

NFU Scotland is reminding Scottish hill sheep farmers that the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS) opens for applications this Friday (1 September) but is disappointed that, for the second year running, there are to be no improvements to the scheme rules.

The scheme, worth around £6 million, is designed to assist active hill farmers and crofters through a payment coupled to the number of ewe hoggs they keep as breeding replacements for their flocks.  Applications will close on 16 October.

NFUS, and other organisations, had requested changes to SUSSS this year.  This follows a similar request to Scottish Government from NFU Scotland in 2016.

Now into its third year, the Scheme continues to cause difficulties for those most reliant on these payments as a major part of their direct support payments.  NFU Scotland believed that the budget-neutral changes proposed would have made SUSSS more effective. The Union’s recommendations would have seen changes to application periods, retention periods and targeting of payments.

Given the worth of the scheme to hill farmers, the Union urges those eligible to continue to apply for the scheme as before; submitting applications between 1 September and 16 October with the required retention period running from 17 October 2017 to 31 March 2018.

NFU Scotland’s Vice President Martin Kennedy, who also chairs the Union’s Less Favoured Areas committee said: “As a Union, we had unanimous backing from our membership to pursue, for a second consecutive year, changes to SUSSS to target this valuable pot of funding more effectively.

“While disappointed at the response, correspondence with Scottish Government hints at the possibility of scheme changes next year and we will continue to pursue scheme improvements on behalf of applicants.

“With no immediate changes to scheme rules, we urge our hill farmers and crofters to crack on with applications when the window opens on 1 September.

“Given the very wet season, and clear indications that many of our hill farmers are well behind in their workload, we remind them of the need to meet the short application window and that retention period requirements to 31 March 2018 are unchanged.”  

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 123/17


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