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.”