A number of farmers are challenging a decision from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) not to award them a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment this year.
The RPA announced a few days ago all eligible 2015 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claimants in England have now received a payment. But for some the frustration is continuing.
Following a further payment run over the weekend:
But 690 applicants have been informed they were not eligible for a 2015 payment.
They were asked to contact the RPA via a dedicated helpline if they felt they had relevant information to show they were eligible and about 10 per cent have done so.
An RPA spokesperson said the agency would be in touch with these applicants ’as soon as possible’ and would assess any additional evidence ’so that we could make a recalculation where necessary’.
The spokesperson said: "If any applicant has received this communication and believes any information is incorrect they should contact the helpline on 03000 200 301. The RPA will make adjustments if we believe there is a valid reason."
One farmer posted a comment on FG’s website under the name of Sam Sykes accusing Mr Grimshaw of ‘playing with words’.
He said RPA had told him his ‘small straightforward claim’ was still ‘in correction’ so does not yet count as an eligible claim.
“In other words because they have not yet finished processing it I do not qualify for a part-payment," he said.
“They cannot tell when I will be paid or how much I will get. I feel discriminated against, I can no longer believe a word they say and I am in desperation wondering how and when this can be resolved.”
NFU senior BPS adviser Richard Wordsworth said the union was ‘encouraged’ many farmers had received bridging payments but added:
“Our concern is for those how have been recently contacted saying they are not getting a payment, but put in a valid claim or those where the bridging payment is significantly less than 50 per cent.
“We are urging the RPA to look into these two groups as priority, as well as making top up payments for those who have already received a hardship payment.”
He said many of the affected payments seemed to be claimants with common land that have fallen below the threshold of 5ha eligibility as the common land had not yet been recognised.
The RPA is aiming to pay the balances on the bridging payments, generally the most complex claims, during May and June.
The RPA spokesperson said: "All farmers have now been paid their full or bridging payment under 2015 Basic Payment Scheme.
"Outstanding balances are being paid as soon as the details submitted in these most complex cases are verified.”
The RPA is urging farmers to submit 2016 BPS applications as soon as possible, even if they have not received a full 2015 payment.
The agency spokesperson said: "Any farmers with concerns about their BPS 2015 payment or claim details held by RPA should write or email.
"RPA will investigate any payment differences and make adjustments over the summer, through routine reconciliation
"Where there is flexibility under the scheme rules, the agency will use it for 2016 claims. Any adjustments made to 2015 payments and claim data will be transferred to the applicant’s 2016 claim."