Young farmers' support scheme 'not functioning'

Mr Chapman says that constituents are contacting him unable to access the scheme because not enough money has been committed to it.
Mr Chapman says that constituents are contacting him unable to access the scheme because not enough money has been committed to it.

The Scottish Conservatives have called for increased support for a young farmers’ scheme as questions were raised over a lack of funding.

Former NFU Scotland vice-president and North East MSP Peter Chapman has written to the Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing to warn him that the scheme “seems not to be functioning”.

The Scottish Government had committed £6million to the Young Farmers Start-Up Scheme over a six-year period from 2014-2020.

However, responding to a parliamentary question tabled by Mr Chapman, the scheme was revealed to have already spent £5.23 million on only 90 applications.

Now Mr Chapman says that constituents are contacting him unable to access the scheme because not enough money has been committed to it.

Mr Chapman said, “Of course I support measures that encourage young farmers to get a start in business.

“It is not good enough for the SNP to leave future generations of farmers with no support and Fergus Ewing needs to urgently get some more money into this scheme.

“These are the very people with enthusiasm, drive and new ideas that we need to help into farming.

“It would be incredibly disappointing if young farmers were unable to make their start in their farming careers due to a lack of funding to this scheme."