SNP South Scotland MSP Dr Aileen McLeod has welcomed measures from the Scottish Government to help Scottish farmers who have been hit by the adverse weather this year.
Among the announcements, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said he would be writing to banks to update them on the timing of Single Farm Payments and asking them to provide maximum flexibility for those farmers whose payments are not made at the start of December.
Dr McLeod said: “We have had some extreme weather this year which has caused difficulties for Scotland’s farmers.
“So these measures from the SNP Government are very welcome – we must do all we reasonably can to help support our farmers.
“Not only have we prioritised Single Farm Payments, the banks have also been urged to show leniency to those farmers who have yet to receive their payments.
“We have increased resources to pay SFP as quickly as possible – including staff working in the evenings and weekends and given a two-month invoices extension for 2012 rural priorities capital works.
“Those who have encountered problems with the slurry rules are being helped by our area staff who are working to help farmers avoid or reduce penalties in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.
“It is particularly encouraging to hear that most of the small number of farmers who have contacted the Scottish Government for help have avoided penalties completely.
“Farming is fundamental to Scottish life. Agriculture plays an integral role in the wider community and sustains jobs in primary production and throughout related sectors. That is why the SNP is committed to helping Scotland’s farmers through these tough weather conditions.”