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SCF chair Jonathan Hedges was pleased with the amount of young people becoming crofters.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed new crofting figures, declaring the percentage of young people becoming crofters as 'positive news'. 

Announced by the Crofting Commission on Tuesday February 6, the data shows that there were 510 new entrants to crofting in 2022/23, with 46% of those new entrants women, and 29% under the age of 41. 

SCF chair Jonathan Hedges said the numbers showed efforts to help new applicants access croft land were working.

“As an organisation, we have long known that there is significant demand for crofts and have campaigned that more should be done to enable new entrants to access croft land. The figures released by the Crofting Commission demonstrate that demand," Mr Hedges said. 

“The fact that 29% of these are young crofters is very positive news but there is still much more work to do to increase the availability of crofts to this age group, as well as keeping them affordable, allowing young families to continue to live and work in rural communities. We call on the Scottish Government to consider what else can be done to support this progress.” 

Local MSP Alasdair Allan said: “The latest figures for new entrants to crofting are very encouraging, particularly the proportions of young people and women recorded. This progress demonstrates new measures on helping prospective new crofters secure a croft tenancy are working, though of course there is still more that can be done to make the process more efficient and to further widen access.

"As the Minister for Crofting stated this week, the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the Crofting Commission to create additional opportunities for new entrants. It is also my hope that the upcoming Crofting Bill will include provisions to help sustain crofting in the long-term, supporting new entrants and existing crofters alike.

*This article was updated on February 9 to include comment from Alasdair Allan MSP.