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Crofters Between a Rock and a Hard Place on CAP Funding Transfer

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crofters are “between a rock and a hard place” says the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) in its response to the ‘mini-consultation’ regarding the transfer of CAP funds between ‘pillars’.

“Though this may have been called a ‘mini-consultation’”, said SCF’s Chief Executive Patrick Krause, “it was a very difficult one to respond to due to the paradox of the situation. The principle of moving money into the Scotland Rural Development Programme, where most of the schemes that should be supporting crofting and the environment, such as the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS), the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme (CCAGS) and agri-environment measures are found, seems a no-brainer. But the reality is that LFASS in Scotland is designed to pay higher rates per hectare to the better off land; the government wants to open CCAGS to non-crofters; and the agri-environment schemes have been syphoning the money away from the crofting counties, where most of the High Nature Value areas are.”

An overall objective of the CAP reform, the European Commission has said, is to move money away from direct payments and into rural development, where it can be targeted to achieve specific social and environmental outcomes. With Scotland receiving the lowest rural development payments in Europe, it does seem anomalous that the full 15% transfer of funds allowable from agricultural direct payments (pillar 1) to rural development (pillar 2) is being questioned and Scottish Government is minded to only transfer 9.5%.

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Crofters Say No to the Duty to Report on Neighbours’ Crofts

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) submitted its response to the Crofting Commission consultation on the ‘Duty to Report’ with a resounding “no, we will not report on our neighbours’ crofts” from its members.

“SCF members have said that they do not think it is within the remit of grazings committees to comment on croft in-bye at all” said Patrick Krause, Chief Executive of the SCF. “The grazings committees' responsibility is the management of common grazings. They are voluntary bodies and the Crofting Commission do not have the resources to provide training or support for them. It is difficult enough to get grazings committees together without extra duties being laden upon them, and it is feared that this duty could further discourage crofters from forming grazings committees. If the Crofting Commission needs to know about crofts, they have at their disposal a panel of assessors whose job it is to bring to the notice of the Crofting Commission any relevant local matter concerning the state of crofting in their area. There is also within law the provision to ask crofters to fill in an annual return declaring their residency status and use of the croft. Furthermore, Scottish Government carries out inspections from their local offices. There seems no reason to burden hard-pressed grazings committees further when there is abundant provision to gather information about crofts already.”

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SCF response to Duty to Report

Saturday, December 07, 2013

SCF response to the Duty To Report Form issued by the Crofting Commission for consultation.

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Crofters warned to watch out for two-legged predators

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has issued a warning to crofters to watch out for predatory practices by “experts” regarding the Crofting Register.

“The year of voluntary registration of crofts ended 31st November” said SCF Chair, Derek Flyn, “and we now move into the next phase which is still voluntary but now also compulsory under certain circumstances. We have been receiving unsettling reports of crofters receiving letters from ‘professional advisors’ implying that registration is now completely compulsory, crofts must be digitally mapped and that the services of a ‘professional’ will be needed. This is not the case. Crofters can still voluntarily register a map of their croft but will now have to submit a map of their croft only if they trigger an event that requires Crofting Commission approval, for example, the assignation or division of a croft.”

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Crofting Register: when to register a croft

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Between 30 November 2012 and 29 November 2013 the Crofting Register is open for the registration of voluntary applications. These can be made by the owner of the land on which the croft is situated; the landlord; the crofter; or, where the croft is an owner-occupied croft, the owner-occupier crofter. If you hold one of these interests, this means that, during this period, it is up to you to decide if you want to apply to register a croft in which you have an interest. The Crofting Register will continue to be open for voluntary registrations after 29 November 2013.

For more information please see: www.ros.gov.uk/croftingregister/guidance.html

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