MEP welcomes online increase

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MEP Diane Dodds has welcomed the news that 99.53% of Single Applications for the Basic Payment Scheme were made online.

She said this saw a remarkable increase of 37.53% in 2016.

Mrs Dodds added: “Credit must go to farmers but also the organisations who help complete these single application forms. Given the significance of direct support I welcome anything that ensures money gets to farmers quicker and with the least hassle.

“In light of this surge in online applications I would call on the Department to ensure advanced payments are made once again. Michelle McIlveen MLA made this a key priority and it was both well received and much needed among farmers.

“DAERA must continue to make this a priority and deliver for farmers.”

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has welcomed the record uptake of online Single Applications.

The total number of Single Applications received by 15 May 2017 was 24,901, of which 24,783 were submitted via DAERA’s online service. 9,557 farmers switched to online application in 2017.

Welcoming the figures, Jason Foy, Head of Payments at DAERA, said: “It has been a real team effort this year between DAERA and farmers to encourage uptake of online applications.

“I’m delighted that 99.53% of farmers chose to submit their Single Application online, an increase of 37.53% from 2016.

“Throughout the Single Application window we have been appealing to farmers to ‘Help Us to Help You’ by using our online services.

“This positive result demonstrates that farmers have recognised the advantages of online application over paper, such as reducing the possibility of simple errors and reducing the time taken to carry out validation checks.

“The European Commission has instructed Member States to have 100% of land claimed online by 2018.

“This year’s outcome puts us in a very strong position to meet that target next year.”