NFU survey shows work still to do on BPS applications

A new survey reveals that as we enter the month of May when most farmers should be submitting BPS forms in earnest there is a worryingly widespread lack of forms, information and confidence.

The NFU has been actively contacting its members to find out how they are progressing with their new Basic Payment Scheme applications in recent weeks, given an extension to the deadline and the sheer amount of confusion and uncertainty since the RPA moved away from an online-only system.

Our survey revealed that (of those that are self-completing their BPS application*):
• Nearly half of respondents (42.4%) said they were unaware that the RPA has support centres available;
• Around a fifth said they had not received an email or paper forms from the RPA since April 12;
• Nearly one fifth (18.2%) said information on their BP5 forms were incorrect – but 42% had yet to check – most looking to complete the forms in May;
• More than a quarter (26.7%) said they had not received copies of their maps since September 2014.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “Given the complexities, challenges and last minute changes involved in this year’s BPS applications it is really important the NFU keeps its ear to the ground so it can hear from its members as to how things are progressing. This in turn will help us in our lobbying to avoid excessively delayed payments or penalties. Our intention is to regularly publish the results of our ongoing survey so we can better inform our constant talks with the RPA and express the anger and frustration our members are going through when what they really want to be doing is getting down to the business of farming.

“We do appreciate this is extra form filling, but would strongly encourage members who have yet to take part in our survey to spend just a few minutes completing it. It is vital that we get their feedback, as the next few weeks are absolutely critical.

“Meanwhile we continue to encourage members to endeavour as best they can to submit forms in good order and in good time and we remind our members of the need for extra care and attention to detail in this all important initial year of BPS.”

More information on BPS for NFU members can be found on NFUOnline or by calling NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

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