Common sense prevails for Basic Payment Scheme applications in England

The Tenant Farmers Association has expressed its relief that DEFRA has at last accepted the need to abandon its plans for online only applications for the new Basic Payment Scheme in 2015.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “The TFA has always been opposed to the “digital-by-default” dogma expressed by DEFRA. Over the past two years we have had a string of correspondence with DEFRA underlining the need for paper-based applications to be allowed at least for the first year of the new Basic Payment Scheme. However, despite the lessons that should have been learned from the failure of the IT system introduced in 2005 DEFRA pressed ahead. Even with the length of time that DEFRA had to deliver the IT system it has failed to produce a workable system and the RPA has been left to pick up the pieces”.

“Over past weeks TFA members have been expressing frustration, annoyance and anger over the faltering, stuttering and incomprehensible IT system that DEFRA delivered to the RPA. Despite the continuing assurances that the system would be fit for purpose, there has quite clearly been significant doubts within the RPA for a long time and I am only grateful to Mark Grimshaw, the RPA’s Chief Executive and his long-suffering staff for his ability to convince DEFRA to change its line from dogma to practicality,” said Mr Dunn.

“Two weeks ago the TFA was predicting carnage if a plan B was not forthcoming. In making the announcements it has, the RPA has certainly given itself the opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat,” said Mr Dunn.

“The fact too that we will have to the middle of June for applications to be submitted will give an important breathing space. However, to ensure that payments for 2015 claims are made on time, we would still encourage early submission to assist with the RPAs need to process the applications,” said Mr Dunn.

“Obviously there is still much to do in order to get claims in on time and we will be working closely with the RPA to ensure that this can be achieved within the remit of the new flexibility being offered for applications. In particular, there remains a need for all applicants to register for the new system and there are still around 25% of registrations outstanding. We would encourage all intended claimants to register as soon as possible through the RPA helpline,” said Mr Dunn.

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