NFU SCOTLAND has raised concerns with the Scottish Government after it emerged that a 'significant' number of businesses submitting a Single Application Form have been issued with mapping changes just days before the submission deadline.

In what the union described as 'an unsatisfactory move', some businesses that received a land inspection in 2018 have started receiving letters and revised maps from ScotGov week – just as the SAF 2019 window is about to close on May 15.

An estimated 1150 land inspections were undertaken in 2018, the majority of which resulted in very few or no adjustment to maps. However, others will have received significant changes to the maps associated with their application in 2018, and these new maps must be used for the 2019 SAF round.

ScotGov has informed NFUS that it is aware that some claimants receiving letters will be concerned about submitting their SAF 2019 and is keen to do all it can to help – in particular, those that received a land inspection in 2018 who have not yet received a map (or any 2019 claimant who has a concern regarding their SAF submission) should contact staff in their local SGRPID area offices, who have been asked to provide details of their inspection to assist in the completion of their SAF 2019.

However, the union noted that SGRPID offices will be closed this weekend and will only reopen on Monday May 13 – just two days before the SAF deadline.

President Andrew McCornick is one of those who has received revised maps in the past few days. He said: “Delays in Scottish Government processing land inspection information from 2018 have created a worrying and inconsiderate situation where revised maps are only being issued a few days before the 2019 SAF deadline.

“The fact remains that the SAF application window closes on May 15 and all claimants, including those with land inspections in 2018, must meet this deadline if they wish to avoid any deductions for late submission. Members have the comfort of knowing that, while obliged to stick to the May 15 deadline, limited changes to their 2019 SAF form that relate to new maps can still be made up until May 31 2019 without penalty.

“If anyone has a concern regarding the submission of their SAF 2019, particularly those who receive maps between now and May 31, they should contact their local SGRPID area office for clarification. Our experience at home was that the local office staff were exceedingly helpful in assisting my wife and I to complete our form," said Mr McCornick.

“Scottish Government’s communication with those affected has been poor but this will be a very important issue for a significant number of claimants, and it is right and proper that NFUS makes people aware of the situation."