Scotland to tighten rules on Single Farm Payments

THE Scottish Government is set to tighten the rules on Single Farm Payments (SFP), linking eligibility to farming activity.

The move is a direct response to the Pack Enquiry which called for measures to stop the rise of so-called ‘slipper farmers’ – landowners who claim SFP but who do not actively farm the land.

Under the new rules, which are expected to be in place by 2011, a minimum stocking density will be set to ensure any claimant is actively engaged in producing food.

Rural affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The industry and the Scottish Government are united in wanting financial support for agriculture delivered to only those carrying out genuine activity.

“As time goes by, we are all agreed that continuing to base payments on levels of activity carried out years ago is plain wrong. Although this remains a complex issue to resolve, hopefully so called slipper farmers will now see that the writing is on the wall.

“Tightening the rules to ensure that land has to be grazed and kept in good condition will strengthen the link between Single Farm Payments and farming activity.

“We will now work up an implementation plan, in consultation with stakeholders, so that the strengthened rules are in place from 2011.”

Readers' comments (10)

  • Does this mean organisations like the RSPB which claim millions in CAP subsidies but don't actually produce any food will be prevented from claiming? With the rising cost of wheat and declining number of dairy farmers it's about time subsidies went into supporting food production and not environmental busybodies (or slipper farmers).

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  • the english sfp should go the same way, and have a minimum acreage

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  • How about a campaign to remove SFP from farmers who have wind turbines on their land?
    Why should they have a double subsidy?

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  • Myy random technique for searching the net,revealed that Tate & Lyle were harvesting Millions of pounds ih subsidies, whin seems an unreasonable distibution result.

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  • I regard this as an unacceptable attack on slipper farmers. Before you know where you are supermarkets will start importing cheap, foreign slippers and then the British slipper farming industry will going the same way as the British dairy industry.

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  • I agree with anonymous 4:35pm, if this carries on those poor slipper farmers will be out of business and as they are probably useless anyway they will have no alternative but apply for goverment positions.

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  • it should be limited to 500 acres per farmer.
    nothing for landlords

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  • It's not just slipper farmers that this might affect, there is huge areas of arable land enabling SFP which is technically " not actively farmed ", fallow/ grass banks etc will this be deemed uneligible at inspection. So much added complications to impose on a system about to be totally overhaulled.

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  • National Trust should not be able to claim SFP on their tenanted holdings either.

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  • 7 farms in our area and none of them employ anyone, yet their subsidies top £1million per year. the field in front of our local hotel is an eyesore through over grazing, this is deliberate simply because the hotel owner got planning to build a house this empty headed farmer should have all his state benefits [sorry] subsidies stopped what a waste of tax payers money scrap the cap.

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