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Housing grants and other financial support for crofters

Crofting grants are available to help crofters build homes and improve the productivity of their land, for example you can get grants for building sheds and fencing among other things. This page provides an overview of the support available.

You can find out more about financial support available to crofters at the Scottish Government website.

Croft house grant scheme (CHGS)

What is the CHGS?

The aim of the croft house grant scheme (CHGS) is to help crofters living in inadequate or substandard accommodation or who don't have a home on their croft to build new homes or improve existing croft houses. The CHGS replaced the crofters' building grants and loans scheme (CBGLS) in January 2005.

How much are the crofting grants?

Rates of grant vary depending on where your croft is located, with high priority going to remote areas with declining populations. You can see a map of the priority areas at the Scottish Crofting Foundation website.

The grant rates for a new house are:

  • £22,000 for a house in a high priority area
  • £17,000 for a house in a standard priority area
  • £11,500 for a house in a low priority area.

The grant rates for rebuilding and improvement are:

  • 40% of costs up to a maximum of £22,000 for a house in a high priority area
  • 30% of costs up to a maximum of £17,000 for a house in a standard priority area
  • 20% of costs up to a maximum of £11,500 for a house in a low priority area.

Grants are discretionary, so there is no guarantee that you will receive one.

What if I applied for the old scheme?

Crofters who have already been approved for the old crofters' building grants and loans scheme can choose whether or not to change to the new scheme, unless they have started building work by 1 January 2005. Although the scheme no longer offers loans, existing loans will not be affected.

Who can apply?

You may be eligible to apply if:

  • you are a crofting tenant, or
  • you were a crofting tenant but you bought your croft within the last seven years, or
  • you are a cottar.

How do I apply?

You can download an application form and guidance notes from the Scottish Government website.

You can also download a leaflet with more information about the CHGS at the Crofters Commission website.

Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants (Scotland) Scheme (CCAGS)

What is CCAGS?

Grants from CCAGS are designed to support and develop agriculture on crofts, to help sustain the crofting way of life. Grants are only available for certain projects that can be proved to contribute to the quality and productivity of the land.

What can I get a grant for?

The following projects would all be eligible for a grant:

  • building or improving agricultural buildings and other facilities for housing and sheltering outwintered livestock, and any work associated with agricultural buildings, such as yards and slurry stores
  • investment in land management, including grassland improvement and works for restoring degraded land and controlling bracken
  • drainage works
  • providing or improving facilities for feeding outwintered animals, such as troughs
  • buying or improving equipment for handling and treating livestock
  • planting trees for shelter
  • building fencing, hedges, walls, gates, or stock-grids
  • providing or improving amenities such as water, electricity and gas supplies
  • building or improving tracks, roads, bridges, culverts or boat slips.

In addition, you must show that your project will achieve at least one of the following aims:

  • reducing production costs
  • improving and redeploying production
  • improving quality
  • preserving and improving the natural environment, hygiene conditions and animal welfare standards
  • promoting the diversification of farm activities.

This is a simplified list – to find out if your project would be eligible, contact the Crofters Commission for further advice.

How much can I get?

If you live in a less favoured area (an area designated by the Scottish Government as being harder to farm) you will be entitled to up to 50% of the costs approved for the work. If you don't, you'll be entitled to up to 40% of the approved costs.

Most crofts fall within less favoured areas - contact your local SGRPID area office to find out if this applies to you.

The maximum grant you can get over a two year period is £25,000 per business. A business is an agricultural business you run as an individual or in partnership with someone else – if you farm your croft, for example, this would be a business.

Who can apply?

You can apply for CCAGS if you are:

  • a crofting tenant
  • a crofting subtenant (although you'll need to get the tenant's permission for any work you carry out under the scheme)
  • an owner-occupier, as long as you can show that you have similar economic status to a crofting tenant (you'll be asked to provide details of your income and your spouse's income to prove this)
  • an agricultural tenant with a limited duration tenancy, provided your holding is no bigger than 30 hectares and is situated in the former crofting counties, and you have lived on the land for at least 15 years.

You may not be eligible for an award if you live more than 10 miles (16 km) away from the croft. This will depend on the Crofters Commission.

How do I apply?

To apply, you need to fill in an application form, which you can download from the Crofters Commission website, along with further information on the grants and guidance notes to help you fill in the form. You can also get a form from you local SGRPID office.

Don't start work on your project until the application has been approved. If your application is turned down, you can appeal to the Crofters Commission.

Can I combine a CCAGS grant with another grant?

No, you can't apply for any other funding for the same project. Likewise, you can't apply for a CCAGS grant if you've already received funding for the project from another source.

Support for crofting community groups

Rural Direct is a new initiative run jointly by the Crofters Commission and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). The service offers advice and practical assistance to help  groups in the Highlands and Islands access funding for community based projects. You can find out more about Rural Direct and other sources of community funding at the Crofters Commission website.

Other sources of support

As well as grants and loans for crofters, you may also be eligible for other benefits, such as housing and council tax benefit.

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