Mike Rumbles, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East, today condemned the poor administration of the Young Farmers Start Up Grant, which may leave many aspirational farmers without access to funds.
The grant, created by the Scottish Government to attract young farmers into the industry, is administered from a £6 million pot that was intended to last until 2020. However it has been revealed that £5.23 million of the pot has already been distributed leaving enough to fund a mere handful of applications in the schemes remaining 4 years.
Speaking on the matter today, Mr Rumbles said “Poor planning on the part of the Scottish Government has seen the vast majority of available funding distributed in the first year of a scheme intended to last until 2020. Though I welcome the assistance to a number of young aspiring farmers that has already been made, this is incredibly unfair on those applying for future rounds of the grant who will lose out.
“A great deal of effort is put in to completing these applications and young farmers may well feel their efforts are all for naught. Assurances must be given that those aspiring to become farmers on their own will be given the support they need and deserve.
“I have been advised by the minister that the Scottish Government is considering options for additional funding to the scheme, however more rapid action is required. If the Scottish Government is committed to attracting new blood to the industry they need to put their money where their mouth is and commit to additional funds for the scheme.”