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£400 million farming boost
Almost 14,000 farmers will receive their Single Farm Payments this week, injecting over £400 million into the rural economy.
And by the end of the year, around 20,000 will have received payments totalling £460 million - up £88 million on last year because of the Euro exchange rate.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"These payments are always vital but never more so than in tough economic times. These prompt payments are another example of this Government delivering for hard-pressed rural businesses. What's more our payment timetable is ahead of the UK Government's, meaning Scottish farmers will be reaping the benefits of their Single Farm Payments quicker than their counterparts in the south."
Farmers who have yet to complete eligibility checks or provide up-to-date bank details are urged to do so as quickly as possible.
The Single Farm Payment Scheme is the replacement for historic arable and livestock direct support schemes in Scotland and this is the third year of operation. Farmers applied for the Scheme in May 2009.
The European regulations fix a payment window that means payments can be made between December 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. Because the Single Farm Payment is paid in Euros the exchange rate means farmers are to receive around £88 million more than last year.
Farmers with outstanding Single Farm Payment queries concerning eligibility or who have not provided up-to-date bank account details cannot receive payment, hence the small percentage of farmers who will not receive their payment in December.