Bank Advances to Scottish Agriculture, 2016
The National Statistics publication, ‘Bank Advances to Scottish Agriculture, 2016‘ was released by the Chief Statistician on Monday 12th September.
A survey of the main banks and other lending institutions showed that, in the year to 31st of May 2016, outstanding loans rose by £177 million. Total outstanding loans to the agricultural sector amounted to £2.20 billion. Accounting for inflation, this was an increase of eight per cent since May 2015.
This was the seventh consecutive annual increase in Scottish farm bank debt. After remaining steady for a decade during the 2000s, debt levels have now risen to their highest since records began in 1972.
In addition to the bank loans, farms have an estimated £1.4 billion of liabilities, related to hire purchase, family loans and other sources. About 50 per cent of total liabilities are long term loans, a percentage that has been slowly increasing over time. In 2003 about 40 per cent of debt was long term. Liabilities equate to about nine per cent of assets.
The data reflect the overall UK picture. Figures from the Bank of England show that, by May 2016, the UK “agricultural, hunting and forestry” sector had an outstanding debt of £17.7 billion, having seen a 51 per cent increase in debt levels since 2010. The only other sector that had seen an increase was utilities, which increased 46 per cent since 2010, with all other business sectors seeing a reduction in outstanding debt.
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