AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced Single Farm Payments totalling more than £184million paid in December 2012.
Minister O’Neill said: “Our objective was to complete around 80% of claims and pay out £180million in December. I am pleased to say that we have been able to complete 82.8% of claims and pay £184.1 million into farmers’ bank accounts. The vast majority of the December payments were in bank accounts before Christmas.
“We have made good progress with inspected cases this year and have been able to pay over 500 claims involving inspections in December. This is a significant improvement on last year.”
Explaining the position on the claims that cannot be paid immediately, the minister said: “The claims that cannot be paid at this stage have queries that need to be resolved or require complex assessments which take longer to clear, for example where changes to maps and ineligible land have been identified at inspection. We are working to complete all the remaining claims at the earliest practical date. But we must administer the scheme in a way that avoids further disallowances by the European Union and this means payments cannot be released until the correct amount due has been calculated.
“Farmers can of course also play an important role in helping the Department to achieve faster payments in 2013 and thereafter by checking their maps carefully to ensure they claim only on eligible land, and by making their applications for Single Farm Payment online.”