THE SCOTTISH Government has been urged to increase Basic Payment Scheme loan payments to eligible farmers from 95% to 100% to support businesses that have been hit hard by the exceptionally wet weather over the last few weeks.

The Scottish Conservatives are behind the request, and have claimed that the 5% increase could make a crucial difference to farm businesses.

“While we, of course, welcome early payment of farm support, Scottish agriculture continues to struggle with extremely challenging conditions this year,” said the party’s spokesperson for the rural economy, Donald Cameron.

“The changeable and exceptionally wet weather over the last few weeks has made these challenges particularly difficult.

“The Scottish Government must therefore ensure farmers have access to their entire basic farm payment early, and without penalty, so that they can weather this storm,” he continued.

“If the government's IT system is working as it claims, then paying 100% should not be a problem, so long as there are no knock-on effects or overpayments.

“For some farmers that extra 5% will make a crucial difference to their farming operations,” he said.