Member survey suggests mixed showing on BPS

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More than 300 members from across the country and representing all sectors of farming were asked when their payments were received, and what impact any delays had on them and their business.

Results so far show:

- 90% of respondents have been paid, indicating a much improved performance by the RPA compared to the previous year

- Of 2016 claimants, 10% have still not been paid, the impact being cash flow pressure, borrowing, some problems paying bills and selling stock or crops earlier than planned

- 5% of those paid their 2016 claim noted a shortfall in what they expected to be paid

- 11% still had outstanding payment or claims issues from the 2015 application year.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “Our survey concludes later this week, but is already giving us an invaluable ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ view from farmers about how they feel the RPA is performing.

“These early stage results show that despite a commendable effort by the RPA to get BPS money out to cash strapped farmers, there is clear evidence that the RPA is still stretched.  As we move into 2017 it seems the pace of payment has significantly dropped away to a dribble leaving those in the unpaid 10% worried about cash flow and feeling clueless about when they will see their BPS. We have been calling for some time now for bridging payments for those not paid by the end of January.

“In light of these survey results we repeat these calls. Furthermore, the level of clear-up work left over from 2015 is unacceptably large – in effect the RPA have more than 8,000 customers who for some reason still haven't concluded their 2015 application 18 months after submission. That is far too many for comfort.

“With the 2017 claim window fast approaching and expected to be open towards the end of February, I ask for the RPA to take on board what farmers are telling us here.”

For farmers who are at LAMMA 2017 later this week, the NFU’s BPS team is on hand to answer your payment questions.