NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw has responded to the announcement from the RPA that application windows for BPS and Countryside Stewardship will be extended by one month until 15 June, welcoming the flexibilities we have seen applied while emphasising concerns that the extension could have a knock on effect on payment delivery.
The announcement follows work from the NFU urging the RPA to provide maximum flexibility over payments amidst the coronavirus crisis and discussion on the challenges the industry is facing because of COVID-19.
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “I am pleased to see the RPA has acted on our case for being as flexible as possible during the current pandemic and planning ahead to ensure farmers can submit applications and avoid penalties for late applications but at the same time, I am concerned about the impact extending the claim form deadline could have on the processing of payments.
“The next step will be for the RPA to find a mechanism to ensure timely 2020 payments and that this extension does not result in delays. I encourage everyone who is still able to submit claim forms by the original deadline of 15 May to do so at the earliest opportunity to reduce processing delays.
"The NFU has already urged the RPA for timely BPS and agri-environment payments to be delivered as early as possible in December this year in light of the issues posed by COVID-19 and the extreme autumn and winter weather.
"It is imperative that farmers’ expectations are met and the new claim form deadline does not prevent the RPA from delivering payments in a timely manner to avoid further unnecessary cashflow pressure.”
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