‘Bridging payments too late’, says NFU
THE TIMING of newly announced bridging payments for the thousands of farmers still waiting for their latest European support funds will do little to ease frustration and financial pressures on farmers, the National Farmers Union said.
The Rural Payments Agency has agreed to make stop-gap payments to farmers worth 75 percent of their claim entitlements in lieu of their full payment, but these will not be issued until April.
Richard Wordsworth, payments advisor at the NFU, said: “Our recent membership surveys shows we have got thousands of farmers out there still waiting for their BPS 2017 payment.
“We hear from many on a regular basis. Many are having to take loans, put off key expenditure to cover cashflow requirements at this time of the year.
“The news that there are bridging payments is welcomed, but the timing of the payment, which will not land until April, will do little to ease the frustration and current pressures on farm bank accounts. ”
The Rural Payments Agency said that more than 93 per cent of farmers who are eligible to receive payment under the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme have now been paid – some 79,000 farmers of varying claim types and sizes.
Payments made to date are worth more than £1.5bn.
Announcing the bridging payments, Farming Minister George Eustice said: “The burden of EU rules continues to be a barrier to some of the remaining processing so we will ensure that, as we did last year, any farmer not paid by the end of March will receive a bridging payment in April.”
One of a colony of 100 hawfinches spotted feeding on their favourite food, the seeds of a hornbeam tree, at The Yorkshire Arboretum.