Farming leaders disappointed by refusal to make partial payments

Farming leaders have expressed disappointment over Defra's announcement that partial payments for the 2010 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) will not be made by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) due to the risk of EU fines and further delays in dealing with the backlog.

Farming Minister Jim Paice this week gave a written statement to the House of Commons today updating Parliament on the RPA’s progress in making SPS payments.

Country Land & Business Asociation president William Worsley said: "We accept the Minister is having to deal with an appalling legacy and if refusing partial payments is the price for ensuring the RPA is turned around in the shortest possible time, then with considerable reluctance the CLA accepts that.

"Nevertheless, both he and the RPA will be held to account if we do not see considerable improvements next year. Farmers cannot be expected to live on promises."

Tennant Farmers Association chairman Jeremy Walker said: "The TFA is disappointed with the decision not to issue partial payments. However, we welcome the plan to make around 2,000 manual payments, alongside a further 3,000 computer generated payments, between April and May coupled with letters to individual claimants which will provide some clarity as to when those payments will be received. 

"We very much hope that major suppliers, including landlords, awaiting payment from cash-strapped farmers will continue to be patient."

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "In today’s statement, the Minister has acknowledged the frustrations felt by farmers still waiting for a 2010 SPS payment. Many farmers still waiting for a payment are facing real difficulties; we really shouldn’t be in this position six years into the scheme.

"We are very disappointed that the RPA will not be making the partial payments that we asked for, but we welcome the news that the RPA will be making fully validated manual payments to around 2,000 farmers over the next two months. We are pleased the RPA will be writing to farmers to tell them when they can expect a payment, but the RPA must make good on the promises it makes to farmers.

"We will do everything we can to hold the RPA to account in respect of the time frames the Minister has set out today."

Farming minister Paice said: "The Oversight Board did additionally consider requests from various sectors of the industry to make partial payments. However, RPA’s analysis suggests that this would not significantly increase the speed at which remaining claims are paid to farmers, but would add disproportionately to the backlog of corrective work required and introduce additional risks of EU fines. Consequently, it was agreed that the Agency should not make partial payments."

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