The revised deadline for Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme Round 3 claims is 31 May 2021. Don’t miss these key reminders for those of you successful with your applications last year.
We want your feedback
If you have had, or are currently having, problems with fulfilling this scheme’s claim requirements, such as obtaining items or getting them on farm before the 31 May, please email us (ZmVlZGJhY2tjcHNnQG5mdS5vcmcudWs=) and let us know. We want to find out:
- which items you have applied for
- if there are supply issues
- the timeline in which you first started seeking the items
- what suppliers are telling you about timelines to delivery
- the reasons for any delays and
- how many suppliers you have contacted etc.
We cannot promise any changes from the current rules and deadlines, but we will use this information when raising issues with the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) and Defra.
Claiming – remember the detail
Ordering and follow up
Hopefully, you ordered the eligible items as soon as you could after being told you were successful with your application for grant funding, if not, do not delay. Keep in regular contact with the intended supplier(s). This is key if the items have a long build time or require importation. There is currently no flexibility with the 31 May 2021 deadline. Do not leave everything to the deadlines, especially the ordering of items. Contact the RPA if there are any issues.
Purchase all items applied for
You need to purchase all the items that have been successfully applied for in order to receive the grant monies. This is because the success of the applications was based on it being scored on the basis that all items will be purchased and, if that is not the case, then the original application could have been considered unsuccessful compared to other applications.
Only buy new when purchasing items
Remember the rules on VAT. The piece of equipment you are purchasing must meet the minimum specification shown in Annex 3 of the Guidance. Also, remember the paperwork, how it should be set out and what is needed. Ex demo/hire/second hand/try and buy situation are not eligible items. A farmer cannot also use part exchange of goods or invoice credits as evidence of payment. Payment for goods claimed under this scheme must be made in full for the value of the goods shown on the invoice. If the part exchange is against non-grant funded items, ask the supplier to invoice these separately.
A farmer must also make sure that none of the items in the application are replacements, covered by an insurance claim. The project costs must be paid for with money from private sources like savings, bank loan or credit card Follow the guidance, the same goes if using a buying group. Items paid for by hire purchase or lease purchase are not eligible. A farmer cannot fund the remainder of the project costs with other EU or UK public funds such as other grants.
Ensure that you have the funds to purchase the items applied for before you receive the grant monies. This is important to factor into cashflow-planning going forward, bearing in mind the 31 May 2021 claim deadline and the time after which the RPA may take to check the claim and issue the grant funding contribution.
Proof of Purchase
Make sure that guidelines on the paperwork trail are followed. Ideally, purchase the item on a separate invoice to other non-eligible items and pay for it separately. There is a need to ensure proof of purchase has been made in full and before the deadline. There is good guidance around the purchase and payment of eligible items in the Scheme Guidance for all parties involved.
The sooner you can get your claim in, the more likely you will get paid promptly if, of course, the claim is all in order. If there is a rush of claims made up to the 31 May deadline, then that could cause a delay in receiving the payment thereafter. If your claim is eligible, your grant will be paid in a single instalment after you have paid for, taken delivery (and installed if required) all of the items on your approved application, they are fully operational, and you have submitted a completed claim template (with supporting eligibility evidence) and eligibility checks have been undertaken.
The RPA will aim to pay your complete claim within 30 working days of receipt of your claim evidence. If there are any issues, it may take longer.
As the grant funding is paid directly into the bank account attached to your business’s main SBI number registered in the Rural Payments service, please check that it is up to date to avoid any delays in payment. Any issues around bank account details, please contact the RPA on its helpline number 03000 200 301.
If you are in any doubt of what is required, there is very helpful information on invoices (must be paid in full), payment evidence (with monies left bank account), and photos to be found in the Annex of the Scheme Handbook.
If you have any concerns, please speak to suppliers and be mindful of the timeframes to get everything in place. Equally, if you have any concerns or issues about meeting the new deadline date of 31 May 2021 then please email the RPA at Q1BTR0NsYWltc0BycGEuZ292LnVr or call on 03000 200 301.