Farmers who were either underpaid or are still waiting for their full 2015 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment are being advised to check their claim statements carefully and to instigate an appeal as soon as possible if they feel there has been an error on the part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
Stemming from issues with the new online system introduced in 2015 and embarrassing last minute U-turn back to paper form applications, the RPA could be facing a barrage of appeals from angry farmers chasing payments.
The blame has been squared on processing delays with the paper RLE1 forms however Ben Compton from the rural team at Bruton Knowles is saying it’s all well and good finger pointing where the issues lie but brings little comfort to beleaguered famers struggling to make ends meet.
With the 2016 May deadline now passed, Compton is advocating farmers look into an appeal not only to place a complaint but to speed things up.
Ben said: “The web-based system was created by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) as part of CAP reform, and was set up to allow applicants to submit annual claims, map land, alter personal and business details and transfer entitlements.
“It was however beset by a host of issues including a lack of broadband in many rural areas resulting in a lot of farmers not being able to gain access.
“As a result many farmers are still waiting for their full 2015 payment and there are some that have received penalties that have been incorrectly applied, resulting in payments well below what they were expecting. This has serious implications for some and could be the difference between survival or going out of business.
“We’re also advising that applicants double check that any entitlement transfers are correct, again stemming from issues with the online system and the last minute switch to paper forms last year.
“We’re now on hand to help any farmers sort through what is needed so that they get what for many are vital payments.”