Critical time for Basic Payment Scheme claim processing – NFU

The NFU will this week ask the RPA if it is still on target to start making full BPS payments in December – making what it says are the majority in December and the vast majority by the end of January.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith will be meeting the RPA on Friday but said there were still too many questions regarding progress.

“We acknowledge the RPA has to date given us a view on the progress of data capture. At NFU October Council Mark Grimshaw stated that getting handwritten data off BP5 forms and back online had reached 93 per cent completion and work around entitlement transfer data capture was an initial focus going forward.

“However, with less than a month to go to the start of the BPS payment window, there are still far too many unknowns around the progress of BPS claims and we need to understand more about the next phases of claim progress.

“While we appreciate the RPA is working seven days a week to process claims, we have concerns around the next phases of work on claims. The RPA is using a new IT system with a number of software releases still to be made and should now be in the middle of the post-data capture phases work – which is the validation and verification of claims. Added to this it also needs to tie in information received via the RLE1 forms for land changes. There is still a lot to do.

“We need the RPA to continue to be transparent on progress and I re-iterate our message – if delivery of payments is going to be delayed, we need to know about it sooner rather than later so that farm businesses are able to plan. We also still believe that it is only right that the RPA has an evolving plan B in place that we hope will not be needed, but can be brought in quickly to make payments if the original plan falls down.

“Of particular concern to the NFU is over the ability of the RPA to deliver payments to those farmers who are also commoners, many of which are situated in upland areas, given the different approach to the allocation of common land this year. Again the RPA needs to look at a contingency plan to make sure that cash gets to those farmers who need it in this situation.”

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