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At Last! Full Farm Payments Promise By RPA
31/01/06

Rural Payments Agency

In response to the statement made this morning (31 January) by the Agriculture minister, the Lord Bach of Lutterworth concerning the payments to farmers by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), David Fursdon, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said:

"At last, after much pressure from CLA and others, the Government, acting on advice from the RPA, have promised to get full payments out to the bulk of farmers and land managers by the end of March 2006.

We welcome this statement as we did not want messy 'partial' payments in March. However, statements are merely words, our members not be happy until they receive the money upon which their businesses and livelihoods depend.

Also, we want to see what constitutes a "the bulk". We are very concerned about those who fall foul of the system in some way, particularly as it is not their fault. There will need to be some safety net for them particularly if they are to be able to trade entitlements and submit their claims for 2006 in time.

The RPA must pay attention to the needs of the minority as well as the majority."

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform

In 2002, in its Mid-Term Review, the European Commission proposed a wide ranging reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, under which support payments, or farming subsidies, are made to European farmers.

Member State Governments were given wide latitude to make their own decisions on the detail of how payments should be made, and the CLA has been actively engaged with Government in England and Wales, as well as at an EU level to seek solutions that meet our members' needs, as the reforms develop.

While Scotland and Wales chose to introduce an historic based model of the Scheme, England opted for a "dynamic hybrid" by which a regional based scheme would be introduced over 8 years, increasing the regional element each year, while the initially high historic element of the payments reduced.

The new Single Payment Scheme was implemented in the UK from January 2005, and replaced all previous forms of production based subsidies. The first and only application date for the Scheme was 16 May 2005. Whilst Scottish and Welsh farmers have received the majority of their payments in December, English farmers are still waiting to hear what entitlements they have been allocated and be paid for them.

CLA has been working close to the implementation of the Scheme from the start, lobbying Government direct and through its involvement with RPA stakeholder committees. Members with queries relating to the Scheme should contact their regional office for advice in the first instance, or Allan Buckwell or Laura Coode at Belgrave Square.

link Full CAP payments to farmers will begin in February
link Rural Payments Agency 'no confidence' vote - NFU
link CLA Slams Rural Payments Agency


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