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.