Alasdair Allan has called for 'significant changes' to crofting law to improve support to crofting communities.
Speaking from Barvas, where he met with crofter Norman Kerr, Alasdair Allan called for a new crofting Bill and for future CAP payments to be made in a more timely manner.
Alasdair Allan commented: “There is no doubting how complicated crofting law has now become, and I would say there is now a appetite for a further crofting Bill, both to simplify some of this, and also to address anomalies.
"For instance, when a community buys an estate, it should not, in my view have to re-register all its crofts again, a point I have made recently in the context of recent community buy outs of estates such as Carloway. I also think it’s time to look at reintroducing a loan scheme to supplement the croft house grant scheme.
“Although this year saw a new payment regime, which is also causing delays in England and Wales, there is no excuse to be made for the late payment this year of CAP grants and the Government have acknowledged this. Next year’s basic payments have to be made in the winter when crofters have come to expect them, and when they need them. This year the Scottish Government had to commit £200 million to ensure that those crofters and farmers still unpaid received payments in the course of April.
Norman Kerr commented: “As an active crofter I recognise the Scottish Government has done many things to help try to bring new people into crofting, most recently by increasing the maximum grant available under the croft house grant scheme.
"One of the issues facing crofting just now is the difficulty many crofters have in obtaining a mortgage, which is why I am pleased to see Alasdair Allan calling for the reintroduction of the loan element of the Croft House Grant."
Alasdair Allan and Norman Kerr with some lambs in Barvas