We hear about the cutbacks for LFASS – is it about time to scrap this aid and put something longlasting in its place?

In our neck of the woods, Benbecula, there is roughly about 5000 acres of heather moorland, and the stock on this land, probably you would have room to spare in loading a 40ft float.

It is really a shame that this land is underused, but the problem is that you need fit young men or women to work it.

Probably most of the crofters do claim LFASS from the commons, but how many actually have stock on the grazings?

We all know once knives are taken to any aid, any excuse will be used to cut and cut until nothing is left!

Now is the time to think of a future for budding crofters, and develop an aid that is worthy of the work that they put in to maintain stock on the Commons, an aid that has no benchmarks to hamper. Something like how the French aid their farmers, that every farmer that stays on the land and works it gets a fixed yearly amount. This would get rid of the slipper farmers, who take a big bite out of all aid. No stupidity tied up to maps and field margins. Mistakes would be a thing of the past, and no more grossly over rated fines and deductions. All that would be needed was the name of your holding, your summing, your stock checked at shearing time, then cheque in the post!

How many years have various political governments talked about eradicating slipper farmers, yet after all the talk they are still there?

I am sure all that work our heather hills would welcome such a plan, but all those that have vast acres and no stock would not welcome such a plan, where would they get their holiday money from?

Angus A Macdonald,