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Farmers to receive 75% bridging payments from 2016/17 claims by end of September, promises Defra

But the NFU has called for improvements to be made to the current farm payment system to enable all agreement holders to be paid by the RPA in full and on time.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Farmers to receive 75% bridging payments from 2016/17 claims by end of September, promises Defra

Farmers still waiting on their 2016 or 2017 payments have been promised a 75 per cent bridging payment by the end of September.

 

This was the latest from Defra today (September 14) with a commitment to all Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement holders who had not yet received at least 75 per cent of their 2016 and/ or 2017 payments.

 

In instances where a 50 per cent advance payment has already been made, customers will receive a 25 per cent top up when bridging payments are made, it added.


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But the NFU has called for improvements to be made to the current farm payment system ahead of this year’s ES and Countryside Stewardship (CS) payment rollout, to enable all agreement holders to be paid by the RPA in full and on time.

 

NFU deputy president Guy Smith said while he was ‘very glad’ Defra was listening to the Union’s calls to help ease cash flow pressures, a long-term fix in the administration of the scheme was needed.

 

He said: “Environmental enhancement is very important to farmers. Yet hundreds of our members have been telling us that, after an already challenging year, outstanding payments for ES have been putting further, and unnecessary, pressures on their businesses.

 

Unnecessary financial pressure

“While these bridging payments provide much-needed support for farmers and growers, they do not solve the underlying issues of payment performance and system efficiency.

“A long-term fix in the administration of the scheme is needed to renew farmers’ confidence that the scheme will not leave them under unnecessary financial pressure.”

 

Those waiting on the payment have been urged to double check their bank account and contact details on the Rural Payments Service are up-to-date.

 

Letters are being sent to farmers and land managers this week.

How do bridging payments work?

  • A bridging payment is an interest-free loan to customers in advance of their full year payment;
  • Customers will receive 75 per cent of the current estimated value of their ES revenue claim;
  • When the full payment is processed and made, the amount paid through the bridging payment will be held back.
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