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Scotland: BPS 2021 - 2024

Wed 3 February 2021

In comparison to England, it looks like very little is going to change in relation to the delivery of agricultural support in Scotland over the next four years. 

The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Act 2020 received Royal assent on 1st October last year. Its principal purpose, as the name suggests, is to carry forward the current CAP rules. The Act provides limited powers to Scottish Government to use secondary legislation to “simplify” or “improve” the present regime. 

The Act also requires that Scottish Ministers lay before Parliament a report detailing progress towards establishing a new Scottish Agricultural policy before the end of 2024. The report must contain the Scottish Ministers’ policies and proposals as to:
• the sustainability of Scottish agriculture and its resilience to climate change;
• the simplicity of any modified or future agricultural payment schemes;
• the profitability of Scottish agriculture and the agri-food supply chain;
• the support and encouragement to innovations and good business practice;
• the inclusion of new entrants;  
• the improvement of productivity of Scottish agriculture.

Time will only tell what agricultural support will look like after 2024, but encouragingly for producers, Scottish politicians appear to be more focused on supporting production than their Westminster counterparts. 

BPS 2021 – WHAT DO WE KNOW?
• If you submit your SAF using a paper application, this will be the last year you can do so. All applications must be online from 2022 onwards;
• Greening requirements have been altered:
    • Crop diversification (three-crop rule) has been removed; 
    • Permanent Grasslands rules are to be retained; 
    • Ecological Focus Area (EFA) rules to be in place for 2021, but will be subject to review.
• 2021 BPS budget remains unchanged from last year. Going forward, BPS payments could be reduced due to budgetary cuts from the UK Government;
• LFASS payments being made now (2020 scheme) are 40% of the 2018 payment rate (required under EU rules); 
• Scottish Government will top-up LFASS to the 2018 rate using Convergence funds. LFASS to be in place, fully funded, until at least 2024
• Second (and final) instalment of CAP Convergence payments are to start being paid to farmers from the end of January 2021. The payments will be at a lower rate than last year.

BPS ENTITLEMENTS
With the BPS scheme guaranteed to be in place until at least 2024, the purchase of BPS Entitlements still represents a very good buy. Currently youngsRPS have a number of Entitlements available for all payment Regions.

AECS
Scottish Government has announced a new round of AECS applications, which opened on the 25th January. Full details are available online. Slurry storage is included as an option for those who are in “priority areas”. 
A Scottish Government consultation has just been launched: Delivering Scotland’s River Basin Management Plans – it makes a number of suggestions in relation to slurry storage, and particular older stores (pre 1991), that don’t currently have to meet the same standards as new stores. For people with older slurry stores or those who just need more storage, the AECS slurry grant could be worth a look. 

GET IN TOUCH
The youngsRPS team has many years of experience in assisting clients with applying for grants and subsidies. To make things as easy as possible for our clients, we normally come on to farm to complete BPS and grant applications. During these difficult times, we undertake detailed phone/zoom discussions and socially distanced visits where absolutely essential.

If you would like to discuss AECS applications; BPS applications, greening requirements, or are in the market to buy or sell entitlements, please do not hesitate to get in touch:
Mike Halliday
Helen Proud