Producer Organisations hit by RPA payment delays should be paid by Christmas

NFU President Peter Kendal wrote in a newsletter to members this week that he has been raising the issue of the "unjustifiable delay" of RPA payments to Producer Organisations with the ministers on a frequent basis.

Earlier this month Grower reported that the RPA had extended itself a deadline to pay producer organisations.

It did so to avoid being fined by the EU, whose auditors have expressed concerns that some producer organisations are not operating under its strict legal requirements.
Kendall highlighted the specific impacts the failure to pay eligible claims would have on some PO’s.

The NFU said in newsletter said: "We heard late on Friday from Defra that their intention is for the RPA to pay the outstanding payments that have been caught up in this extension of payment deadlines by Christmas. Our understanding is that a statement confirming this good news is due to be issued by the middle of this week."

It also said: "PO’s will also be aware of delays in the processing of in-year amendments and amendments to programmes for 2011. The NFU is also pursuing clarification of these aspects of the administration of the scheme, and once again we expect further information to be released later this week."

The Defra PO policy review group has also been working on producing clarified guidance on certain aspects of the recognition criteria for Producer Organisations.

The NFU added that this work will continue into 2011, noting there is an urgency for this work to be completed quickly so that all PO’s are in a position to know what this clarified guidance is, and as importantly, the evidence required to ensure compliance.

The RPA confirmed to Grower that it is due to issue a statement by the end of this week on the PO situation.

Agriculture minister Jim Paice has meanwhile announced that Mark Grimshaw, currently managing director of the Child Support Agency, has been appointed as the new RPA chief executive. He will formally take on the role on January 17.

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