Nine in 10 farmers have been paid their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money but the NFU has warned recipients to be vigilant as fraudsters target the industry.
The latest figures from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) showed total payments had reached £1.6 billion in the first two weeks of the payment window, including the 59,600 farmers that were paid on the first day (December 2).
Those claiming Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) were previously told they would receive one full payment this year, with many farmers already seeing their payments ‘four months earlier than last year’.
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said the department was ‘committed to ensuring timely payments’.
NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts added: “These BPS payment figures suggest this will be the best December performance since the last years of the Single Payment Scheme and best overall performance since at least SPS 2012.
“Finalising the remaining claims from those inspected, with common land or land outside of England, now needs to be the focus for the next six weeks, so that by the end of January there are only handfuls of claims left to pay and the uncertainty currently faced by those not yet paid is addressed.
“I would urge members at this time to be on guard for fraudsters who sadly target our industry.”
Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 for advice or to register concern.