‘Bridg­ing pay­ments too late’, says NFU

Yorkshire Post - - COUNTRY & FARMING -

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.

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