Scottish crofters set for up to £38,000 to aid housing upgrades

An abandoned crofter’s cottage at Airidh a’ Bhruaich on the shores of Loch Seaforth on the Isle of Lewis

CROFTERS across Scotland are set to be able to apply for larger sums of money to upgrade their housing under the Scottish Government’s croft house grant.

The government is increasing the grant rate for home improvements and builds from 40% to 60% of the total project cost – with a maximum grant of £38,000.

First launching in 2007, the scheme aims to retain and attract people to rural areas. Since its launch, some 1,100 families and individuals have benefited from £24.2 million in funding.

Last year the Scottish Government awarded more than £850,000 in croft house grant funding to support 28 crofters and their families.

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for rural affairs and islands, Mairi Gougeon, said, “Crofters are so important to our rural and island communities. They play an integral role contributing to the long-term sustainability of these often fragile areas.

“The Croft House Grant enables crofters to enjoy the full potential of their crofts while generating economic success – and I have seen first-hand the difference it can make.

“We must do all we can to attract and retain people in our crofting communities, particularly young families. That’s why we are committed to continuing and improving this vital support.”

Chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, Patrick Krause, added, “Housing and fuel poverty are major issues we face in rural Scotland, and, despite the soaring costs, we need more homes, homes that that are ecologically sound. So this is very welcome news.

“It is hearting to see Scottish Government adding to a very effective scheme that has helped hundreds of families to get established, and particularly in helping with improvements to existing buildings, upgrading to be more environmentally efficient, extending and bringing older buildings back into use. It is a win for all.”