NFU survey suggests much improvement but thousands still in BPS tangle

A recent survey by the NFU suggests a rather mixed performance by the RPA.

300 NFU members from across the country and representing all sectors of farming were asked when their payments were received and what impact any delays had on them and their business.

The results so far show:

·         90% of respondents have been paid indicating a much improved performance by the RPA compared to the previous year

·         Of 2016 claimants, 10% have still not been paid, the impact being cash flow pressure, having to borrow more money,  some having problems paying bills, selling stock or crops earlier than planned

·          5% of those paid their 2016 claim noted a shortfall in what they expected to be paid

·         11% still had outstanding payment or claims issues from the 2015 application year.

Guy Smith, Vice President of the NFU said: “Our survey concludes later this week, but is already giving us an invaluable ‘straight form the horse’s mouth’ view from farmers about how they feel the RPA is performing.

“These early stage results show that despite a commendable effort by the RPA to get BPS money out to cash strapped farmers, there is clear evidence that the RPA is still stretched.  As we move into 2017 it seems the pace of payment has significantly dropped away to a dribble leaving those in the unpaid 10% worried about cash flow and feeling clueless about when they will see their BPS. We have been calling for some time now for bridging payments for those not paid by the end of January.

“In light of these survey results we repeat these calls. Furthermore, the level of clear up work left over from 2015 is unacceptably large – in effect the RPA have more than 8000 customers who for some reason still haven’t concluded their 2015 application 18 months after submission. That is far too many for comfort.

“With the 2017 claim window fast approaching and expected to be open towards the end of February, I ask for the RPA to take on board what farmers are telling us here.”

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