A Government u-turn on its commitment to penalise HS2 for taking land and failing to pay timely compensation has left farming groups angry.
The CLA claimed a letter from the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government, suggesting a review into plans to impose a penal rate of interest on late compensation payments, was a renege on the commitment to make the system ‘clearer, fairer and faster’.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said it was a further blow to those affected by the scheme and undermined their chance of fair payments.
He said: “People affected by projects like HS2 have already suffered serious disruption to their businesses and lives.
“The open-ended review means the reforms risk failing to deliver meaningful change in the behaviour of acquiring authorities as promised.
“Without a punitive rate of interest in place, they have no incentive to change their practices, which are characterised by delays and late payments.”
The letter said the Government needed to consider ‘potential gaming risks’ before finalising its approach, which it previously promised would be a rate of 8 per cent above the Bank of England base rate for late compensation, and an improved rate of interest of 2 per cent above base rate on the outstanding balance after the date of entry.