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Accurate information essential to speed up payment process, says DARD minister

AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill said that it would greatly speed up the payment process if farmers presented the correct information to ensure payments could be made.

The minister said that many payments were being delayed by incomplete information – with nearly 800 applications missing bank details.

She said: “Processing of Single Farm Payments has gone very well, and already we have paid out over £213 million, to 33,500 farmers and land owners. Of the outstanding claims, around a third are awaiting information from farmers.

“I am particularly concerned that 780 farmers have not provided bank account details. That makes it impossible for us to pay them. This is money that would not only assist farmers, but would be welcome in the rural economy, as farmers purchase farm supplies. I would therefore appeal to these farmers to supply their bank details as soon as possible.”

The minister also commented on other groups who could help the department complete their payments as soon as possible.

She indicated: “A further 300 farmers have been asked to supply information about changes to the membership of their businesses, and I would like to see that information come back to the department as quickly as possible. There are also 330 cases where we are waiting details on completion of probate.

“The department recognises its own role and in particular the need to speed up the processing of the remaining inspection cases and has made progress in this regard. For example, the time taken to process an application that was subject to inspection has been significantly reduced resulting in 40% of payments on inspected cases being completed to date compared to around 11% at the same time last year.”

The minister concluded: “In these difficult economic times, it is important that we all work together to seek to ensure a positive cash flow for farms, to minimise dependence on loans for working capital, and to get finance into the wider rural economy.”

 
 
 

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