Monday, December 10, 2018

Farm leaders call for BPS bridging payments

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

The NFU has called for leaders have called for bridging payments to be made to farmers still waiting to receive their basic payment this winter.

The Rural Payments Agency paid more than 54,000 farmers in England during the first few days after the payment window opened at last month. Further payments were made during the remainder of the month but it is believed that 1 in 10 farmers are still waiting for money.

Payments between 1-6 December were made to over 63% of eligible claimants, and worth more than £850 million in total. These include a range of 2017 BPS claim types and sizes, as well as those inspected and farmers with common land.

Thanks to increased entitlement values and greening rates, coupled with the favourable BPS exchange rate confirmed in September, basic payments will be worth 25% more on average this year, compared to 2015.

Strong progress

RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “We are making strong progress against last year’s performance and remain focused on getting remaining payments out as quickly as possible, as I understand how important they are for farmers.”

But the NFU has voiced concern that many farmers are still waiting for their money. “While this news is encouraging and shows an improvement compared to last year, there still remains a lot to do,” it said.

The NFU said it would judge the RPA on how it treated farmers not paid in December. It has long called for better support for those still waiting for payments in January. Farmers needed better communications to manage their businesses and bridging payments to ease cash flows, it said.

Of particular concern are farmers who may have been paid more promptly in recent years and who now find themselves impacted by a delay caused by an inspection in 2017, said the NFU. It has also voiced concern about those waiting on a common to be allocated to individual commoners.

The NFU said it would continue to monitor the situation closely – especially given the continuing overhang of claim issues from previous years and the more recent 2017 RPA mapping review which has caused many farmers problems.

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