Nine crofters to benefit from funding
Crofters in some of Scotland’s most remote and marginal communities are to benefit from grants to improve their housing or build new homes.
The Croft House Grant scheme aims to retain and attract people to rural communities while allowing them to achieve the full potential of crofts and generate economic activity.
Since the scheme was launched in 2007, more than £21.8 million has been awarded to 1,023 families and individuals in rural and island communities.
The latest round of funding sees grants worth £289,920 awarded to nine crofters.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The last year has been difficult for many people as we work our way through the Covid-19 pandemic to try and control the spread of the virus and protect our communities. Crofters have been working hard throughout contributing to the long-term sustainability of our rural and island communities.
“We need to ensure the continued availability of good quality housing to help attract and retain more people to these areas. I have seen first-hand the impact the Croft House Grant has had across rural Scotland and I am glad that we can continue to provide this support.
“In the last year we have awarded over £1.4 million in grant funding to help build and improve homes for 49 crofters and their families. I am determined to continue helping people in crofting areas, which the Croft House Grant has a proven track record of doing.”
Brian Inkster, of Inksters Solicitors, told SLN that the government should consider reintroducing a loan element to the scheme.
He said: “The Croft House Grant scheme is a very good one that has helped many crofters over the years. However, prior to 2007, there was a previous scheme that included a loan element. It is a pity that the loan element was discontinued as that additional financial assistance was very beneficial for crofters when it is not possible to get secured lending on croft land.
“The Scottish government should consider reintroducing that. Although, hopefully, in the new Parliamentary term, after the elections in May, we will see crofting law reform back on the agenda including the possibility of crofting mortgages being introduced.”