The NFU has agreed on a 'vote of no confidence' in the Rural
Payments Agency to deliver CAP Reform.
The NFU council expressed its frustration
with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) at its meeting yesterday
following impassioned speeches by individual members.
Traditionally farmers have received their CAP payments between
October and January of each year but the switch to the new Single
Payment Scheme (SPS) has meant a delay in processing by the Rural
Payments Agency. In October of 2005 Lord Bach assured the NFU
that the revised payments would start in February 2006 but the
NFU is concerned that this deadline will not be met.
Doubts were raised by evidence given to DEFRA on 11 January
by Lord Bach, who admitted that the RPA still had "400,000
tasks to complete". Tasks are individual processes before
the payments can be calculated. DEFRA is also refusing to guarantee
that the payments will be made on time.
Tim Bennett, President of the NFU said: "Every council
member was angry and dismayed to hear that farmers' payments
are likely to be delayed. Many of our members are already up
to the limit on what they can borrow from their banks so their
backs are up against the wall.
"It's not just an issue for farmers, their suppliers are
also struggling because bills that should have been settled by
now are still outstanding.
The whole of the rural economy is under threat."
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