The NFU is pleased to see that the Rural Payment Agency’s announcement today that it will be issuing bridging payments worth 75% of claims to those agreement holders with 2019 outstanding payments.
The bridging payments will help to ensure farmers are properly paid and rewarded for their efforts and financial costs in protecting and enhancing the environment through Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship schemes.
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “The move from the RPA will help provide much-needed relief for those farming businesses waiting on outstanding Environmental Stewardship (ES and CS) payments from 2019.
“The NFU has been calling for the government to pay outstanding monies for weeks. This comes at a critical time in the farming year, and those with outstanding 2019 payments are having to fund their 2020 environmental work without having been paid anything yet for the invaluable work that was delivered throughout 2019.
"We are very pleased monies will be being released in the coming weeks, however we are aware this is 75% of the estimated claim value. We will be monitoring the situation with regards to the full claim processing and consequently, the remaining value. The RPA has a regulatory target to pay 95% of 2019 claims by 30 June. We hope this offers reassurance to our members as to when their full, finalised claim value will be paid.
"The move the RPA made to make one payment of 100% of the value last year, instead of the previous advance followed by a final payment, has proved challenging for all those still waiting for any monies as we approach May.
“While bridging payments will help ease cash flow issues in the short term, to allow farmers to plan for the long term we are urging the RPA to commit to making payments for 2020 on 1 December this year. In light of the COVID-19 challenges and challenging weather conditions we have seen, this would help ease some concerns for the industry going forward.”