Friday 24 June 2016

Crofting outside the EU - the sheep clearances.

At least the hens leave a profit
I never really thought it would happen. Angry disaffected workers on low wages with insecure employment plus a bunch of elderly "Little Englanders" ; their grievances hi-jacked by incompetent right wing political freaks ( Johnson, Gove and Farage) have led the UK over an economic cliff in the dark.  So what next for Scottish and UK agriculture especially crofting.

The right wing economic think tank the Institute of Economic affairs (IEA) promotes free market solutions and feeds ideas into Tory party policy making. They claim that current farm subsidies in the UK increase the real price of our food by 17% and should be abolished. The Brexit campaign leaders (UK Provisional Government) gave us a a policy and fact free campaign so there is a good chance that they will adopt this once they have power ( in the absence of any ideas of their own).

Across the EU farm subsidies average about £10,000 per farm business per year but this average hides wide variation. Here in the UK it ranges from about £600 -700 a year for a croft up to hundreds of thousands for the big landowners and even millions in some cases. The Editor of the Daily Mail for example is reported to get £150,000 a year land subsidy for his deer forest in Wester Ross. So where does this leave us Crofters?

Last year it cost me roughly £50 to get a lamb from conception to market at Torlundy. My average income for those lambs was £43.50 less the auctioneer's commission. A loss per head of £8.00. I carry on doing this because of the Single Farm Payment and Less Favoured Areas supplement of about £600. Without the SFP it would be madness to carry on. This would also happen on many of the 18,000 crofts in the crofting counties.

It's not all bad news removing sheep from vast tracts of the Highlands would result in naturally regenerating woodland on common grazings and croft land;  a big plus for conservation.


After the last bout of CAP reform payments were based on the area of land owned and actively occupied not the commodities produced. So its a "land subsidy" not really a farm subsidy.

No comments: