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Hundreds of commoners in New Forest fail to receive BPS payments

Not one commoner out of 265 in the New Forest has received their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) cash.


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Hundreds of commoners in New Forest fail to receive BPS payments

As of February 28, 15 per cent of commoners across the country were still waiting for their money, but the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) had not even calculated the eligible area of the New Forest common.

 

Keith Tidman, who farms in the New Forest, called Farmers Guardian to complain about the situation.

 

He said: “When you call the RPA you are passed from pillar to post. They cannot tell you anything at all and it is impossible to plan ahead.


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“We actually know a woman who is still waiting on money from 2015. Her husband has died since and she has had to sell all of her livestock.”

 

Mr Tidman also said he had been told the RPA’s software ’could not cope’ with the New Forest because the commonable ground there was so extensive – a claim supported by Julia Aglionby, executive director of the Foundation for Common Land.

 

“The total lack of attention to the New Forest we now consider unacceptable," Ms Aglionby said.

 

“We appreciate it is a major task running the allocation on SitiAgri [the system designed to manage payments], but it is unfair the commoners there are so disadvantaged by a system clearly unfit for the complexity of common land.

 

“The management of this iconic National Park and the multitude of public benefits it brings rely on farming commoners running viable businesses.

 

“So far they have received nothing for the common or their enclosed land for 2017 and now 2018 is open for application.”

 

An RPA spokesman said eligible New Forest claimants who have not received a system payment by the end of March 2018 will be issued a bridging payment in early April.

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