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