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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-01794
Asked by: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 22 July 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government how much of the Scottish Land Fund has remained unspent at the end of each of the last five financial years.

Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 31 August 2021


Answer

The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) has had a budget of £10 million per annum over the last five financial years - being a total of £50m.

The programme is managed so as to achieve an annual outturn figure that is as near as possible to budget in each financial year. Actual spend in any given financial year depends on the date that assets are acquired (as opposed to when funding is approved). The length of time from approval of award to completion of sale and drawdown of funds varies. This means that, at the time an award is made, it is not possible to know with certainty when drawdown will happen, making it very challenging to exactly match actual spend to the annual budget.

The Fund has a two-stage application process. It offers grants of between £2000 and £30,000 at Stage 1 to help with project development, and between £10,000 and £1 million for acquisition at Stage 2. It is demand-led.

To be successful, applicants need to be suitably constituted, geographically-based voluntary/community organisations who can demonstrate that their project will be well managed and financially sustainable. They must show that their proposals:

  • are supported by the local community
  • represent value for money and
  • will achieve more sustainable economic, social and/or environmental development through the ownership of land and/or buildings

Applicants are supported throughout the application process by experienced Scottish Land Fund advisers. The Fund is managed by the National Lottery Community Fund. An independent Committee oversees the SLF and scrutinises applications for funding for acquisition.

Figures for funds unspent in the Scottish Land Fund at the end of each of the last five financial years are as follows:

2016-17 £4,813,355*

2017-18 £0*

2018-19 £1,127,500

2019-20 £12,189

2020-21 £254,336

*Awards made in 2016-17 included a grant of £4.4 million to the North West Mull Community Group for the acquisition of the island of Ulva. This grant was paid out when the transaction settled in June 2017, bringing the outturn for 2017-18 for the Scottish Land Fund to £11,701,431.