Tractor in the outer Isles


The Spirit of the Law

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The inexplicable case of a public body confusing legal dogma with good sense

The Crofting Commission website says “The Crofting Commission regulates and promotes the interests of crofting in Scotland to secure the future of crofting.” Following the summary dismissal of two (or more) grazings committees; the foisting of grazings constables upon the dismembered grazings; the demolition of crofters’ characters; the contradiction and confusion, it is no wonder that crofters and those with crofting interests are standing agog and are asking “What is going on in the Crofting Commission?” It is not for me to make any judgement on the legalities of the fracas that has been taking place over the past month - crofting lawyers are willingly giving opinion – but I will attempt to explain the essence. Common grazings are the epitome of communal working, yet this is a spectacularly detrimental exercise in public relations by the Commission that threatens the very core of crofting communities. I wonder what the motive is.

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Fraud Alert

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A potential fraud targeting farmers and crofters has been drawn to the attention of the Scottish Government today.

Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to be from an agricultural department of the government, advising them that they are due thousands of pounds in scheme payments.

To receive their payments, victims are advised to call another phone number.

The Scottish Government advises that these calls are not from a government department and this number should not be called.

SCF Prompts New Crofting Minister On Urgent Business

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the new minister for crofting, Fergus Ewing MSP, and calls on him to address the calamity being played out by the Crofting Commission on common grazings.

“It is very welcome news that the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, has the responsibility for crofting”, said SCF’s chair Fiona Mandeville. “Fergus has a long track record in rural affairs and has been a friend to crofting for many years. He has been a keen participant in the Cross Party Group on Crofting that we organise, and we are sure his commitment to crofting will continue.

Ms Mandeville continued, “We have already written to him about the disaster that is unfolding at the hands of the Crofting Commission. The way they are applying grazings regulation in such a draconian manner threatens the very existence of regulated grazings. We are calling for Scottish Government to intervene as a matter of urgency before it is too late and have asked the Cabinet Secretary for a meeting to discuss this as soon as possible.

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Crofters Meeting Marred By ‘A Menacing Presence’

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has expressed astonishment that the convener of the Crofting Commission attended the Mangersta grazings ‘closed’ meeting unannounced.

“This could be seen as blatant intimidation”, said Fiona Mandeville, chair of the SCF. It is an old trick to bring someone along to a sensitive meeting who sits in the background as a menacing presence. Perhaps this was not the intention, but it was very poor diplomacy.”

Following the widely reported skirmishes between two Lewis grazings and the Crofting Commission, notice recently went out to shareholders of Mangersta grazings, from the Crofting Commission, inviting them to attend a meeting to try to move towards resolution in the conflict. The letter made clear that Commissioners William Swan, Marina Dennis and David Campbell would be present. There was no mention that Commissioner Colin Kennedy, who has been at the heart of the two conflicts and was the subject of complaints about his aggressive meeting style, would be there.

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SAF Deadline Extended

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Scottish deadline for submitting Single Application Forms (SAF) for farm (and croft) funding has been extended by one month to June 15, 2016.

It comes after the European Commission granted Member States the discretion to extend the application window again this year, in recognition of the challenges implementing the new, more complex Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) being experienced by nations across the EU.

Given that the system is working well for the majority of farmers, RPID continues to encourage all those who can, to submit their SAFs as soon as possible, and not to delay just because of the extension·

The terms of the extension offered by the EU means that there is no separate penalty free period for amendments to add or increase a claim to a SAF. A SAF can be amended after June 15, 2016 by writing to the Scottish Government. SAFs amended, to add or increase a claim, between June 16 and July 11, 2016 will be subject to late penalties.

Please note that additional late submission penalties may be incurred for any supporting documents submitted after 15 June 2015.

Crofters’ Outrage At Crofting Commission Behaviour Intensifies

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Crofters’ outrage at the treatment grazings committees are receiving from the Crofting Commission is escalating as another constable is appointed and shareholders are summoned to a Commission meeting.

“The behaviour of the Crofting Commission is causing widespread resentment and bewilderment in the crofting communities”, chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), Fiona Mandeville, said. “We are all completely dismayed that the body that is supposed to be promoting the interests of crofting is instead behaving so negatively and harmfully. It seems to have lost all sense of reason.”

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Crofters Perplexed At Commission Behaviour

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has expressed bafflement at the recent behaviour of the Crofting Commission in which it seems set to antagonise crofters and put grazings at risk.

SCF’s Chief Executive Patrick Krause said “The commission is apparently behaving extremely high-handedly and their diplomacy skills are very low. Grazings shareholders need a word of comfort urgently to restore confidence in the regulator.”

The Crofting Commission recently removed two grazings committees from their offices on grounds that they did not fulfil their statutory obligations. This is vigorously denied by those removed, with claims that the commission made it impossible to comply by contradiction, vagueness and antagonism. The commission’s decision to impose a constable on one of the grazings is being questioned by a leading lawyer as to its legitimacy.

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