A new Skill Matching Service (SMS) scheme has been introduced by Lantra Scotland, a charity funded by the Scottish Government, to match rural businesses with potential employees and volunteers during the response to COVID-19.
Highlands & Islands MSP Maree Todd (pictured) has welcomed the announcement, describing the scheme as a ‘lifeline service’.
Commenting, Ms Todd said:
“This scheme will allow for key businesses in the agriculture sector such as those in farming and crofting, to match with workers and volunteers with relevant skills and experience.
“This service will work to address any potential labour shortages caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It is essential that animal welfare obligations are maintained throughout this period and I believe this scheme will allow for the continuity of that.
“This will be a lifeline service for many in the Highlands & Islands in the agriculture sector and I’m pleased to see the protection of our rural businesses a top priority of the Scottish Government’s.”
The Scottish Government also announced this week that 6,000 payments totalling £19.1 million have been made to farmers and crofters in Scotland from the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS).
The majority will receive balance payments on top of the 95% loan paid between January and March this year.
Ms Todd said:
“I know this will be a troubling time for many rural businesses, but I hope the financial support offered and the SMS scheme will work to ease some of the pressure.
“I would like to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt thank you to our farmers and crofters who are working tirelessly to ensure the nation is fed throughout this crisis.”
Find out more by contacting Lantra Scotland on 01738 310164 or emailing SMS@lantra.co.uk