NFU16: BPS delays 'a fiasco'


NFU President Meurig Raymond branded the delivery of the Basic Payment Scheme ‘unacceptable' and 'a fiasco’ as he opened the #NFU16 Conference this morning.

Mr Raymond told delegates and attendees including the Defra Secretary of State, Elizabeth Truss: “Low prices have badly affected cash flow. But for very many that has been made worse by the completely unacceptable delivery of Basic Payments in England and Wales. In England the RPA struggled to deliver their promise of a majority paid by the end of December - and only then barely more than half of eligible farmers got paid - and only 30% of the money was delivered.

“By the end of January almost a quarter of recipients had still received nothing. In my book that’s nowhere near the 'vast majority' that you, Secretary of State and Mark Grimshaw, had promised us. In this market thousands of farm businesses and those supplying farmers rely on the BPS to help pay their bills… their rents or their mortgages.  

“In England today around 16,000 farms have still not had their payment. Farmers with common grazing rights have not yet received a single penny. Defra and the RPA have consistently refused to listen to our pleas for part payments- leaving many without any clue as to when they would receive their payment.

“You cannot run a business like that.

“Of course we’ve heard all the excuses for poor performance. I’m not going to rehearse them here. For me it’s simple, Secretary of State, This can’t go on. In 2016 the system has got to work. And it’s got to work well.”

Meurig Raymond - NFU Conference 2016 - Day one opening_32966

The NFU President criticised supermarket price wars which left ‘the carrots and sprouts for the Christmas dinner costing less than a can of Coke’.

“And in the middle of the BPS fiasco  we have the retailers. The supermarkets may say one thing publicly… but we know that they will push the pain down onto their suppliers and they’ll do it because they think they can,” he added.

He said the bureaucracy of Countryside Stewardship had also left farmers “feeling let down”.

And he addressed other adverse impacts on British farming, from the unprecedented wet weather to forthcoming introduction of the National Living Wage.

But there were positives too.

Although further strengthening was required, the “devastating report on Tesco’s conduct” showed the Groceries Code Adjudicator in effective action. Progress had also been made with TB, and, although short-term prospects were discouraging, Mr Raymond added that the future was more positive.

He said: “Our own surveys of our members show short-term confidence has taken a knock … but longer term confidence has held up much better.”

To steer a course through a difficult present, Mr Raymond noted that, in the NFU, agriculture has “a lobbying organisation that most other sectors can only dream of”.

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Last edited on: 23:02:2016

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  • Posted by: Simon TemplePosted on: 23/02/2016 17:55:11

    Comment: I have still not received any BPS. As I had not received a letter from RPA saying I would not be paid until February or March I expected to receive my payment by the end of January. No such luck. At the beginning of February I received a letter which, under the heading "why we haven't finished working on your claim yet" said "BPS is a complex scheme and applications need more checks on them this year because of the new scheme rules ( for example, the new greening and active farmer rules.)" Whilst this excuse may apply to some claims it does not apply to me - I only have permanent pasture and I have been an active farmer for many years. There has been no change this year and I am not aware of any Inspection. My claim does not involve common land or a cross border claim ( other reasons given today by the Secretary of State today) When I emailed RPA to ask for an explanation the reply was simply "we will contact you if we need any more information." No apology and no attempt at an explanation. So I still have no idea why my claim has not been paid or when it will be paid. Will it fall into the category of "almost all claims" to be paid by the end of March or will it be later?
  • Posted by: Alfred James BentPosted on: 28/02/2016 16:23:33

    Comment: Had email 4th feb said they would be in touch before end of month to let me know when I will be paid ,28th know one day left hope they are going to keep there promise

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