Farmers and crofters in Scotland have started to receive loan scheme offer letters from the Scottish Government to receive up to 95% of their Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments in advance.

Around 17,300 businesses are expected to receive a loan offer as part of the 2020 National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NPBS) with around 16,000 letters issued in the first round.

However, those looking to avail must formally accept the offer by September 4.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “The announcement that the vast majority of Scotland’s farmers and crofters can access up 95% of their BPS and Greening payments from September this year will add certainty and stability across Scottish agriculture and the wider rural community at a time of great change.

“Previous loan schemes have provided an invaluable boost to the rural economy each autumn, stimulating investment in farms and crofts across the country.

This year, as we recover from Covid-19, the scheme will also provide much-needed cash flow ahead of an unknown winter that will undoubtedly be dominated by Brexit.

“The ability for Scottish Government to bring forward this loan scheme several weeks earlier than previous loan schemes is also testament to the commitment and hard work undertaken by farmers and crofters, Scottish Government officials and SGRPID staff in sticking to the May 15 SAF application deadline, despite the unprecedented circumstances this year.

“I would urge all to opt into this year’s scheme and to do so by email where possible to ensure payments are processed and made as soon as possible.”