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Farmers in need of BPS turn to charities

The NSA has called for urgent action on BPS delays in payments and statements. 



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The NSA has called for 'urgent action'
The NSA has called for 'urgent action'
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Farmers in need of BPS turn to charities

The problem of late delivery of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and farmer statements has still not been resolved, with some farmers turning to charities in desperation.

 

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has heard of many cases relating to sheep farmers in upland and common grazing situations, with sheep farmers in England and Wales still waiting for settlement almost nine months after the deadline.

 

Some have not yet had their statement outlining the total amount they can expect.

 

 

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “The types of farms affected are those often living hand to mouth, with struggles enough already without the issue of settlement payments still not being made.

 

“This is creating real hardship amongst farming families, some of whom we have heard are turning to charities to put food on the table.

 

“To make matters worse we are hearing of cases where statements have not been received indicating the monies due, which means getting support from banks or credit from suppliers is difficult.

 

“The situation as it stands simply cannot be allowed to replicate itself next year.”

 

’Extremely difficult’

North of the border, a new loan scheme has been implemented.

 

NSA Scottish region development officer George Milne said: “Figures produced in mid-October show progress has been made, with 18,268 businesses out of 18,327 eligible to claim a BPS payment last year having now received it.

 

"Obviously, there are still a proportion of businesses yet to receive their money and the whole process has been extremely difficult for farmers to say the least.

 

“In terms of this year’s payment, Scottish Government has recently announced a new loan scheme due to start this month.

 

“Farmers who sign up will receive 80 per cent of their BPS due during November, although a start date for payments is yet to be announced.

 

“My understanding is that there are still a significant number of farmers eligible for this scheme who are yet to sign up, I’d urge those individuals to do so immediately to avoid missing out.”

 

In contrast to those farmers in England, Wales and Scotland still waiting for last year’s payment, Northern Ireland delivered the 2015 scheme on time and NSA understands that 90 per cent of eligible claimants for this year’s scheme have already received 70 per cent of their money.

 

An RPA spokesperson said: “We understand the importance of BPS payments for farmers and our priority has been to pay as many farmers as possible as quickly as possible.

 

“All eligible farmers have received a payment on their 2015 BPS claim apart from exceptional cases, such as those that cannot be paid for legal reasons like probate.

 

“Making payments on large commons has proved challenging in the first year of BPS. This was down to multiple and often very large land parcels, many commoners claiming BPS and a complicated historical allocation of grazing rights.

 

“The RPA will make any remaining payments as swiftly as possible. A remittance advice and claim statement will be issued once the claims are paid.”


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