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The Agricultural Business Development Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2000

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations introduce measures to supplement–

1.  Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 of 17th May 1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and amending and repealing certain Regulations (O.J. No. L 160, 26.6.99, p.80);

2.  Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21st June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds (O.J. No. L 161, 26.6.99, p.1); and

3.  Commission Regulation (EC) No 1750/1999 of 23rd July 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) (O.J. No. L 214. 13.8.99, p.31).

The Community legislation referred to above provides for payment of assistance from the Guidance Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund for measures which promote rural development falling within the scope of Council Regulation 1257/1999. Measures relating to Objective 1 areas (which include the Highlands and Islands for transitional support under Objective 1) are subject to the provisions of Council Regulation 1260/1999.

These Regulations set up the Agricultural Business Development Scheme and enable the payment of financial assistance under the Single Programming Document for the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme which, in accordance with Council Regulation 1260/1999, was approved by the European Commission on 8th August 2000.

Financial assistance under the Regulations can be provided for measures which are listed in Parts I, II and III of the Schedule. These measures relate to re-structuring of agricultural businesses or re-orientation of their production, diversification of farm incomes by creating new or improving existing agricultural activities and diversification outwith agricultural activities to provide alternative sources of income. Any of these measures can also be undertaken as collaborative ventures.

The Scottish Ministers may require an eligible person who wishes to benefit from financial assistance to prepare a business plan for the agricultural business for their approval (regulation 4). The Regulations provide for the procedure for applications for financial assistance; applications, containing certain specified information, must be submitted to the Scottish Ministers. Applications can be made at any time. The Scottish Ministers may, however, suspend receipt of applications. Such a suspension will, however, not affect the operation of the scheme in any other respect and applications received prior to the suspension will continue to be considered. Eligible persons can submit more than one application for assistance under the Scheme. Applications can be made for collaborative ventures involving three or more eligible businesses (regulation 5).

The Regulations also–

(a)make provision for the determination of applications by the Scottish Ministers (regulation 6);

(b)provide for the levels of financial assistance available including the maximum limits of financial assistance payable (regulation 7);

(c)provide for how financial assistance may be claimed and what evidence may be required in support of a claim (regulation 8);

(d)provide for the Scottish Ministers to determine the manner and timing of payment of the approved financial assistance (regulation 9);

(e)provide for retention of information and records (regulation 10);

(f)confer powers of entry and inspection for authorised persons to enforce the Regulations (regulation 11);

(g)make provision for the revocation of approval and the withholding or recovery of financial assistance (regulation 12);

(h)make provision for payment of interest on financial assistance recovered under regulation 12 (regulation 13); and

(i)create offences of knowingly or recklessly making a false statement to obtain financial assistance or of obstructing authorised persons acting under the Regulations (regulations 14 and 15).

These Regulations also revoke, subject to a saving provision, the Highlands and Islands Agricultural Programme Regulations 1994 (S.I. 1994/3096) and the Highlands and Islands Agricultural Programme Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/647).

A copy of the Commission Decision approving the Single Programming Document, together with a copy of the Single Programming Document, may be inspected at the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department, Pentland House, 47 Robb’s Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY.

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