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Sheep Association Pushes for Rapid Action on Rural Payments

10 November 2016

UK - The problem of late delivery of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and farmer statements has still not been resolved, with the National Sheep Association (NSA) hearing of many cases relating to sheep farmers in upland and common grazing situations.

While the unacceptable situation in Scotland has been well documented, sheep farmers in England and Wales are also still waiting for settlement almost nine months after the deadline. Some have not even had their statement outlining the total amount they can expect. NSA believes urgent action is needed from the rural payments agencies in all three nations to remedy the problems caused to farm businesses.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “The types of farms affected are those often living hand to mouth, with struggles enough already without the issue of settlement payments still not being made. This is creating real hardship amongst farming families, some of whom we have heard are turning to charities to put food on the table.

“To make matters worse we are hearing of cases where statements have not been received indicating the monies due, which means getting support from banks or credit from suppliers is difficult. As the year end approaches, so too does the time of year many businesses will be looking at end of year accounts and budgeting. It is simply unacceptable for the Government to expect them to be able to do this without the financial information provided by the statements.

“The situation as it stands simply cannot be allowed to replicate itself next year. It is vital the RPA steps up its game and puts procedures and measures in place now to ensure payments and statements go out in timely fashion next year.”

In stark contrast to those farmers in England, Wales and Scotland still waiting for last year's payment, Northern Ireland delivered the 2015 scheme on time and NSA understands that 90 per cent of eligible claimants for this year's scheme have already received 70 per cent of their money.

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