Ulster Unionist Agriculture spokesperson Harold McKee has said that 68 eligible farm businesses have yet to receive their Basic Payment for the 2015 scheme year.
Mr McKee, MLA for South Down, said: “Whilst 68 may be a small proportion compared to the overall number of farms in Northern Ireland, for each of the farmers involved it may well represent the withholding of a key component of their annual income. Whilst I understand the Department had to adjust to a new system, there have still been too many avoidable delays and complications, especially in relation to the Young Farmers’ scheme.
“I do take some comfort however that in her response to the Assembly Question I submitted the Minister informed me that 51 of the cases have not been paid due to factors outside her Department’s control such as probate proceedings or farmers not providing bank account details.
“I would urge the farmers in the situation of key information such as bank accounts details being wrong or missing to contact their DARD Direct Office immediately as payments can only be made when this key information is provided. I have contacted the Minister in relation to the 17 other farms across Northern Ireland which the Department are continuing to be a factor in the ongoing delay of 2015 payment.”