Scottish farming bank advances hit 10-year high

Image caption, More than 70% of Scotland's farmland is owner-occupied, according to the figures

The level of bank advances made to Scotland's farming sector has seen its largest annual increase in 10 years, according to official figures.

Government-published statistics put the total at £1.5bn at the end of May - £121m higher than 2009.

It is the biggest increase since 2000, with the 2010 total near the average for the last 20 years of £1.4bn.

The figure was put down to the fact that more than 70% of Scotland's farmland is owner-occupied.

Total liabilities for the Scots agriculture industry were estimated at £2.3bn last year - of which 60% was from bank borrowing, with the remaining £930m coming from hire purchase, leasing, family members and other sources.

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