Defra announces revised BPS 2020 over-declaration penalties

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In this article, NFU senior BPS adviser Richard Wordsworth explains how the simplification of the method of calculation for over-declaration penalties will see NFU members benefit from more proportional penalties for small over-claims.

He writes:

As we know, BPS operates for the full calendar year of 2020, so BPS, greening, the Young Farmer Scheme and cross compliance all apply during this time, but there have been a number of changes made to the rules this year.

Here we look at one of the final pieces of the BPS 2020 jigsaw and that is the revised penalty regime where a farmer may be found to have claimed inadvertently on an area of land that is not eligible or it is not at their disposal to claim on.


Since 1 February 2020, BPS rules in England have been based on domestic legislation which mirrors the EU rules. This is via the Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Act and a series of subsequent Statutory Instruments. This domestic legislative approach will remain in place until 31 December when the current EU transition period is planned to end. It is important to note that, as part of the conditions of the EU transitional period, the RPA/Defra need to continue to have equivalent measures to that in the EU in place in the UK.

Despite this backdrop, the government has made a number of changes to BPS for 2020. Some of these changes form part of the government’s plans to evolve BPS under its simplification agenda as the UK exits from the EU.

The government's announcement on 7 July confirms its previous intentions to simplify the method of calculation for over-declaration penalties. This has resulted in more proportionate sanctions being applied over and above the reduction for an ineligible area found during a claim being processed or inspected, where the over-declaration is greater than 2 hectares or 3% of the claim.

This change will see NFU members benefit from more proportional penalties for small over-claims, as the sanction has been decreased. We know this has been a point of concern for members over the years and this change helps to secure more of the payment due for both BPS 2020 as well as 2021.

Keep your claim under review

In order to avoid being impacted by the BPS penalty regime, please keep your BPS claims under review during the remainder of 2020. This means after submission, as that is when inspections take place.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the following information:

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