NFU says urgent action vital to close payment gap on BPS

Defra and the RPA must step up efforts to increase the number of farm businesses who will receive BPS payments by the end of December and into January, the NFU said today.

The comments come following an announcement by the RPA that it would pay around 30,000 claims next week. Farmers who will not be paid in December or January will start to receive notification from next week, the RPA also said.

NFU President Meurig Raymond said this would come as good news for those farmers receiving payments. However, he urged Defra and the RPA to look at boosting resources and to consider other options – such as partial payments – to bring forward the number of payments, especially for those with more complex cases or with common land.

“It is easy to overlook why these BPS payments are important for so many rural businesses. The severity of cashflow crisis across all farm sectors is having major impacts on farmers’ suppliers, contractors and the wider rural economy, not just farm businesses,” he said.

“So confirmation that thirty thousand applicants will receive BPS payment next week is undoubtedly good news for these fortunate applicants. And we welcome news that the RPA is on track to pay the ‘majority’ by end of December and ‘vast majority’ by the end of January.

“However, Defra and the RPA must be under no illusion how many farm businesses will be desperate to receive their payments as soon as possible.

“Defra and the RPA must step up efforts to raise the number of claims paid by end of December and January as this is essential for farm businesses and the wider rural economy.”

NFU Vice President Guy Smith added: “When you consider many of us thought last March that we were in danger of facing another 2006 style meltdown when most farmers were still waiting for payments six months after the payment window opened then we have to congratulate the RPA for pulling some of this out of the fire. DEFRA was correct to listen to us at the time and put extra resource into the RPA. I’m mindful the situation in England is not nearly as bad as it appears to be in Scotland.

“The alarm bells must be ringing loud for those farm businesses which will be notified that they are unlikely to receive payments before February. So it is vital for Defra and the RPA to give as many resources as possible now to deal with difficult cases, including looking at all options including partial payments.

“We will now be looking to meet with the Secretary of State Liz Truss and RPA chief executive Mark Grimshaw at the earliest opportunity.”

Get Our E-Newsletter - breaking news to your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

About The Author