Improved BPS delivery but bridging payments still needed - NFU

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NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts said that while this is a welcome improvement from 2017 figures, and it is encouraging to hear the RPA is on track for completing payments ahead of the June deadline, the government must do more to make bridging payments available to those who do not receive their payments in December.

He said: “The delivery of BPS is clearly improving, especially considering the challenges in 2018 of updated mapping and greening rule changes, but it is by no means in perfect working order. Over 5,000 farmers and growers are still waiting for payments through no fault of their own and may not receive a penny for months.

“Timely payments are crucial for farm businesses to be able to manage their cash flow, especially after last year’s extreme weather which put extra pressure on businesses. For those who have yet to be paid, the government must provide immediate bridging payments to ease this pressure and we are disappointed that such financial assistance may not be provided until April.

“With regards to other BPS payment activity, we are pleased to see eligible commoners finally receiving their retrospective adjustment payments for the BPS years 2015-2017, but are still hearing reports of farmers waiting for other claim issues to be resolved that date  back as far as 2015. We must see these fully resolved before the 2019 application window opens in March.”

:: 93.4% of BPS claims representing £1.57bn were paid in December 2018. This compares to 91% in December 2017.

NFU members: attend our BPS meetings

The NFU's BPS experts will be on the road from mid-March providing advice on the 2019 BPS application cycle as well as other related updates. It's important to come along to get advice on 2019 applications and changes this year. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions as well. Register for a meeting in your area now.