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Weaker pound 'welcome boost' for BPS payments

Basic Payment Scheme payments were expected to rise by about 4 per cent in 2017 due to a more favourable exchange rate, following a 16 per cent increase in 2016.



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Weaker pound 'welcome boost' for BPS payments

Payments could be about £10/hectare (£4.05/acre) higher in lowland areas and £9/ha (£3.64/acre) higher on upland ground.

 

Robert Gazely, partner in the farming department at Strutt and Parker, said it would be a welcome boost.

 


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“At the start of the month it did look as if the confirmed exchange rate would be the highest we have ever seen by some margin," he said.

 

“However, September has proven to be a changeable month in terms of currency, with hints of interest rises from the Bank of England causing sterling to strengthen against both the euro and the dollar."

 

“What may be slightly frustrating for farmers is that if BPS had been converted using the average ECB exchange rate for August (£0.91121), payments would have been nearly 7 per cent higher than last year, which in turn was up 16 per cent on 2015 levels.”

Wet weather

 

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the increase in the sterling value of CAP payments with the boost ‘particularly welcome’ given the impact of wet weather on winter.

 

UFU president Barclay Bell said: “The combination of a better conversion rate and confirmed early payments will be a welcome cash flow boost.

 

“Cattle have had to be housed much earlier than usual, silage hasn’t been cut and harvest has been delayed. This is putting a cash flow strain on many farm businesses.

 

He added the UFU had been pushing DAERA and the European Commission to increase Northern Ireland’s basic payment advance limit from 50 to 70 per cent.

 

“Given the difficult year many farmers have faced, we believe there is a strong case for this. We are still waiting for a decision and expect it will happen given that other EU regions have already had their requests approved,” added Mr Bell.

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