After weeks of significant frustration to farmers in Great Britain, the RPA has announced it is abandoning its online only process due to technical difficulties.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said he has already spoken with Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss who has given reassurance that enough resources will be made available so BPS payments can be made in good time later this year. The RPA has reaffirmed this in its statement in which it states it will be able to make payments in December to farmers.
The NFU said it is working with Defra and the RPA to ensure on-time payments to farmers remain a top priority for Government if they are to retain any confidence from the farming industry.
“We’ve been working tirelessly on behalf of members over the past few months pushing for a system which is robust and fit for purpose. It is clear that the situation has become untenable for our members who are justifiably frustrated, angry and anxious about the developing situation and lack of functionality and communication,” said NFU President Meurig Raymond.
“This has been made increasingly worrying and costly for our members as time is running out and the day-to-day business of farming cannot be put on hold nor can we waste any further time at this critical period in the farming year.
“The NFU has encouraged our members to register onto the new system in good faith, but we have been let down time and time again. We know that some farmers have already spent hundreds of pounds on agents’ fees and this is an unacceptable situation and the failure of the mapping capability of the systems has been a particular bugbear to our members. We are pleased to hear today the RPA commitment that they have saved the data that has already been entered onto the system and it will be used going forward.
“The RPA must now work with the NFU and farmers, sharing its planning and progress throughout the application window and beyond to the payment in December 2015. What we need now is a very clear timetable for the new application approach, and assurance that farmers can apply without increased risk of penalties or error and will be monitoring the situation closely in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, the EU Commission has proposed an extension to the BPS deadline to June 15 – an extension of one month from the original May 15 deadline. Member States now need to confirm if they will take up the extension.
NFU members who need assistance should call NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.