THE Scottish Government has announced a £325,000 fund to increase jobs in crofting in the Western Isles.

The cash will be spent to boost staff numbers at the Crofting Commission, specifically within the Rural Payments and Inspection Offices in Stornoway and Benbecula, to allow the body to expand.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the funding will help tackle the financial and economic impacts of Covid-19 which are expected to hit the sector and the wider economy in the future.

He said: “This is an unprecedented and challenging time as we continue to respond in the best way we can to coronavirus and protect our rural communities.

“Being on the front foot is crucial and that is why we need to respond now to the economic challenges that lie ahead.

“Now more than ever it is vital that we support our rural and island communities and ensure crofters can continue to contribute to the long-term sustainability of crofting.”