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RPA tells farmers to contact a charity after failing on delivery of payments

Defra said its operational teams were focused on getting agreements and payments out to land managers and farmers ‘promptly’.

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Farmers awaiting 2018 RPA payments told to contact a charity

Farmers have been left seething after a letter from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) admitted their 2018 payments would not be made by the end of the year – and to instead contact a charity.

 

Peak District tenant farmer Jim Beary outed the letter on Twitter, explaining how a part payment of his outstanding Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) – which was promised to him as an urgent case – would not be made before December 31.

 

If he was struggling, the letter said, he could contact a charity.


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“This is unacceptable,” said Mr Beary, who was unable to make any silage this year due to poor grass growth. “Many farmers are in the same position.

 

“[They] have basically just ticked all of the easy boxes first and anyone with any discrepancy or issue they have put to the back of the queue.

 

Trust

“I feel quite angry because our livestock farmers who have a shortage of feed have not been given any help. After the last 12 months this is the worst thing that could be happening.”

 

 

NFU deputy president Guy Smith said he had also received the same letter, but was ‘not sure combining notification of delayed payments along with signposting charities that support farmers in times of stress is RPA’s smartest move’.

 

Other farmers said the suggestion of getting help from a charity was simply an insult.

 

But the RPA said Mr Beary was one of less than 10 per cent waiting for his payment, with the Agency being on track to deliver more than 90 per cent of payments by the end of December.

It said its operational teams were focused on getting agreements and payments out to land managers and farmers ‘promptly’.

 

But Mr Beary said he had lost confidence in the scheme and was unsure about taking part in any future schemes because he did not trust they could deliver on it.

 

“What they say they will do and what they actually do are two very different things,” he said. “I feel like they have shut down for Christmas and they are leaving people like me in the lurch.”

 

An RPA spokesperson added: “We have made significant progress so far in making BPS payments to farmers, with at least 90 per cent of payments on track to be made by the end of December.

 

“We are focused on getting all remaining payments into bank accounts as soon as possible.”

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