All English farmers are due to be notified of the number of Single
Farm Payment Entitlements they have been allocated and their value,
from next Tuesday 14 February (Definitive Establishment Day). The
Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has welcomed the Government's
promise to get the 'bulk' of full payments out by the end of March
2006 but it is urging farmers and land managers to check their
letters carefully to clarify whether these entitlement statements
are validated or not.
CLA President David Fursdon says: "We are concerned that
a high proportion may not be validated and if so, if farmers and
land managers decide to trade them, they will be taking a big risk.
Let's hope the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) makes it very clear
to all farmers and land managers in the accompanying letter and
explanatory guidance how the figure in each farmer's definitive
(or in some cases non-definitive) entitlement is reached. If the
entitlement statements are not validated then they can be traded,
but farmers and land managers must be aware that, if subsequently
they are not validated, the RPA have the right to just take them
"We have also asked the RPA to make plain whether financial
sums shown are before or after deductions and that the details
behind any deductions be explained very clearly.
"For many, this will be the first correspondence they have
had since submitting their applications last May, and I fear that
the RPA may not have resources in place to cope with thousands
of calls asking for clarification and guidance. The RPA customer
service centre is already telling callers that it cannot talk to
them or answer their queries until after 6 March and, as happened
last year, the CLA and other farming organisations will be swamped
with member calls seeking advice on what the information means
and what can they do about it. This is particularly worrying when,
under the rules, farmers must return their application forms for
2006 by 15th May.
"Our members are also concerned that resources needed to implement
the Single Farm Payment Scheme may be impacting on environmental
schemes such as countryside stewardship with delays to payments
reported in eastern and southern regions."
Last! Full Farm Payments Promise By RPA
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