Union Enters 2021 on Robust Financial Footing After Year Like No Other

Financial surplus and surge in returns from affinity partnerships allow for subscription rates to be held

Following a year like no other, NFU Scotland is entering 2021 on a healthy financial footing.  

The Financial Accounts for 2019/20 show an increase in income to £3,124,530 from £3,045,497 in the preceding year.  With all face-to-face meetings suspended and attendance at national and regional events cancelled, the accounts for 2020 show a reduction in costs from £3,203,487 in 2019 to £2,986,236. These figures result in an operating surplus of £196,094. Interest and dividend income of £54,766 was down from last year’s figure of £89,761. Market valuation of NFUS investments resulted in a reduction of the Union’s investments and potential losses if sold of £286,275 compared to a gain of £129,892 in 2019.

All this means a deficit before tax of £31,206 compared to a surplus in 2019 of £110,496. A tax credit of £31,206 this year reduces the deficit to £4,209 for this year compared to a surplus last year of £90,820.  This deficit has a minor effect on what remains a very strong balance sheet with net assets of £3,054,836 from £3,059,045 last year.

Affinity income generated from the wide range of member services and discounts has continued to grow and in 2020 stood at £170,000 compared to £145,000 in 2019.

In a difficult year for recruitment, it was encouraging to see that farming, crofting, family and professional membership at year end was 8,812, the same as last year.

NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “NFU Scotland was fully geared up for a year that we expected to be dominated by Brexit, trade and climate change policy but we quickly saw all of that take second place to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus placed unprecedented stresses on food supply chains. Momentous shifts in demand, disruption in the processing of food & drink and difficulty in sourcing farm labour has meant the last year has been like no other.

“The Union has proven itself resilient. All staff have worked from home since March and have done a remarkable job. We had the systems in place that allowed us throughout this pandemic to deliver on our primary purpose of bringing pressure to bear on policy makers.

“It is a great disappointment that we have not been able to hold face-to-face events since March but the move to virtual branch, regional and national meetings has been very successful. Our Autumn Conference, where Regional Land Use Partnerships were the subject for debate, saw many more people attend and ask questions than would have been the case with a face-to-face event held in a single venue.

“Of course, while there is a place for these online events, and we will continue to hold some once Covid-19 restrictions are eased, we want to get back to face-to-face events as soon as we can. Whether it be having a presence at agricultural shows or branch meetings, when it becomes possible to hold these again we shall bring people together in person rather than on screen.

“A blended approach of online and face-to-face committee meetings will be the future approach we adopt. The robust financial position we find ourselves, backed by a strong membership, will underpin that in 2021.”

Notes to Editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 177/20

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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