Increased rates for Basic Payment Scheme and Greening 2022
Following a budget review, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments for 2022 have been increased to:
While the increase in payment rate is welcome, the percentage increase is small in comparison to the current rate of ag-inflation.
Planting trees is getting greener
From November, small woodlands approved under the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) since 2015, can be utilised as Ecological Focus Areas (EFA).
While the planned legislative changes will be subject to Parliamentary approval, the move is aimed at encouraging crofters and land managers to plant small areas of trees to help boost biodiversity and tackle climate change. Currently, Scotland’s forests and woodlands cover around 1.45 million hectares, accounting for ~19 % cent of the land area.
At present, there are seven EFAs which can be used on their own or in combination to meet the EFA regulations, namely:
- fallow land, margins, catch crops,
- green cover, nitrogen-fixing crops,
- hedges and agro-forestry.
The proposed changes will be brought in for the 2023 claim year, with areas planted since 1 January 2015 being eligible to be claimed for from 2023.
Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF)
An amendment has been made to the PSF guidance to allow businesses which soil sample their whole farm in a year to claim for the costs over multiple years. For further details, click here.
Agricultural Bill consultation schedule
As part of the consultation process for the proposed new Agricultural Bill for Scotland, a series of five online, Regional events (one general and four thematic) to discuss the proposed Agricultural Bill in have been announced. For details of events in your own area or online please click here. The draft bill is also available to respond to online here.
Cost of living crisis & families
To help families mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis, from the 14th of November, Scottish Government is increasing the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per week per eligible child. The eligible age range is also changing from ‘Under 6’ to ‘All eligible children under 16’.
Rent freeze & moratorium on evictions
As a means of helping people through the ongoing cost of living crisis,), emergency legislation has been introduced as part of the 2022-23 Programme for Government (PfG) to freeze house rents, and continue the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Act 2022 which made all mandatory eviction grounds discretionary. Both acts will be in place until at least 31 March 2023.
Further afield: Environmental schemes in England and Wales
Defra released a Blog on the 26th of September outlining that “in light of the pressures farmers are facing as a result of the current global economic situation, including spikes in input costs”, they were looking at where and how improvements can be made and how best to deliver the new ELMS schemes (which include a sustainable farming incentive, local nature recovery and landscape recovery. Detailed plans are now expected later in the year with regards how the UK Government plans to “increase food security while strengthening the resilience and role of farmers as stewards of the British countryside.” This may set a tone for evolution of policies in other regions of the UK.
In contrast, Wales has announced that its new Agricultural Bill will move to the next step in its journey to become law, paving the way for new and greener support schemes.
While environmental schemes are within the remit of the devolved governments, it highlights the increasing importance of food security and the important role that UK farmers have in strengthening resilience with regards current economic climate.
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