Friday, December 15, 2017

Farm payments start arriving in bank accounts

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under News & Business

Annual basic payments will start arriving in farm bank accounts from 1 December, as the Rural Payments Agency aims to settle most claims by the end of the month.

The RPA target is to pay 90% of BPS payments by 31 December. A further 3% will be paid by the end of March 2017. Cases paid after that date are likely to be complicated applications, including those involving probate or cross-border claims.

Favourable exchange rate

Farmers can estimate their 2016 BPS payments at a gross level using entitlement values and greening rates published by the RPA last month. The weaker pound means farmers are set to receive around 12p more for each Euro of subsidy this year than they did last year.

But it will be some time before details of any reductions and adjustments will be communicated to those paid in December and January. This is because the RPA is not expected to issue claim statements that show such information before February.

Farm leaders have urged the agency to pull out all the stops to ensure payments are made as promptly as possible. Some farmers are still waiting for full payments from 2015 – a situation the NFU says is unacceptable.

NFU senior adviser Richard Wordsworth said: “After another tough year for the industry and poor 2015 BPS payment performance, 2016 BPS payments due to be received from 1 December are needed by many more farmers than at any time in the recent past.

Encouraging

Although the RPA’s target to pay 90% of farmers by 31 December was encouraging, Mr Wordsworth said the union was alarmed at the disappointing second target to pay only seemingly a further three per pcentage points more farmers by 31 March 2017.

“What members want is certainty around the timing of payment, but no one at this time can say for certain when they will get paid. One in 10 will not see the payment until 2017 and seemingly 7% not a payment until April at the earliest next year.”

The RPA has acknowledged that 2015 was a difficult year. It said it had been working hard since the summer to resolve outstanding queries. The agency said it was determined to do better with 2016 payments and was making improvements to the service it offered.

“If we haven’t been able to pay you in December, we will contact you in January with more information about the work we’re still doing, what happens next and whether you are likely to get a payment before – or after – March,” said the agency.

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