Tractor in the outer Isles


SCF submission to Housing Inquiry

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF) is pleased to offer the following evidence to the Scottish Parliament rural housing enquiry.

SCF is the only representative organisation for crofters and crofting in Scotland. There are approximately 18,000 crofts in the ‘crofting counties’ of Inverness, Argyll, Orkney, Shetland and Eileanan an Iar. Crofters and their families comprise around 10%, or 30,000, of the Highlands and Islands population forming 30% of households on the mainland and 65% of households in Skye, Eileanan an Iar and Shetland. Average crofting household income is £21,000, and crofting provides around 30% of that income1. 25% of agricultural land in the Highlands and Islands is under crofting tenure. Crofting has been successful in maintaining populations in some of Scotland’s most remote areas by giving people access to land, homes and jobs. Housing support given to crofters has historically given excellent value for public money in rural housing provision, but that support has been massively devalued over the last twenty years.


SCF contribution to Food Policy Discussion

Friday, April 25, 2008

Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF) is pleased to offer the following contribution to the discussion on the National Food Policy for Scotland. SCF is the only representative and campaigning organisation for crofters and crofting in Scotland. We congratulate the Scottish Government on this policy initiative which has far reaching importance for our members.

Food production in Scotland must concentrate on quality, local provision, provenance and environment. Maintaining food production, especially livestock, in upland, peripheral and island areas is of inestimable social, economic and environmental importance. Small scale agriculture, such as crofting, has been successful in maintaining populations in some of Scotland’s most remote areas. By contrast, industrial scale agriculture driven by a commercial UK food policy, whether in the Straths of Sutherland or the arable prairies of the East of England, has cleared rural populations leaving a degraded environment and a countryside that is the preserve of the very rich.


Crofters Welcome Food Initiative

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Scottish Crofting Foundation have hailed the Scottish Government's food policy discussion and the forthcoming meeting with supermarket representatives hosted by the First Minister as ground-breaking.
SCF food spokesman Donald MacDonald said “the Scottish Government have taken an unprecedented step in recognising that we need to change the way in which we produce and consume food in Scotland. Their food discussion initiative is not only welcome but is extremely exiting. We have the chance now to make some fundamental changes, to look forward to doing what crofters do best – produce good, healthy, fresh food – and to get just reward for that. The fact that the supermarket representatives are willing to participate in the discussion is a very clear indicator that they too recognise the need to change.”


Crofters’ Anguish Over SRDP

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

As it unfolds, the true shortfalls of the Scottish Rural Development Programme are becoming apparent. The Scottish Crofting Foundation has been inundated with complaints and pleas for help from crofters and small-holders regarding the SRDP, the main route to Scottish Government support for rural enterprises.
SCF Past-Chair Norman Leask said “This is something that affects all rural development, crofting being one of the main enterprises in the Highlands and Islands. There were measures that were good for crofters in the old Land Managers Contracts and environmental schemes, for example the maintenance of footpaths for access to the countryside, animal health plans and membership of certain farm assurance schemes, but these have been taken out of the new Land Managers Options – the bit which can be accessed by post. So the only part of the SRDP that is fully accessible has little or nothing in it for crofters. The larger part, ‘Rural Priorities’, is out of the reach of many crofters, it being only accessible ‘on-line’ and so the only way they can apply is by paying for consultancy services to make an application for them – not cost effective for small initiatives.”


SCF Launches Housing Report

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Scottish Crofting Foundation (SCF) has this week launched its report on meeting housing needs in the crofting areas, ‘Houses on Crofting Land’. The research has been carried out by Derek Logie of the Rural Housing Service, one of Scotland’s leading experts on rural housing, with the intention of finding methods whereby crofting land could help to meet the need for affordable housing in Highland and Island communities, while safeguarding crofting interests.


Croft to let on Fair Isle

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This National Trust for Scotland-owned croft will be available to let under crofting tenure in summer 2008. The croft house has four-bedrooms and good outbuildings and sits on 10.5 hectares of croft land with associated common grazing.

Particularly suitable for a young family or couple who are eligible for the Croft Entrant Scheme and keen to join small island community of around seventy people.

Please write to The National Trust for Scotland, Balnain House, Inverness, IV3 5HR by 25 April 2008 for further information and application details.