NFU Scotland has learnt that farmers waiting for payments from the Single
Farm Payment (SFP) National Reserve will now not receive this payment when
the balance payment on their original SFP is paid.
The Executive had announced
its intention to make national reserve payments, together with outstanding
balance payments, from the end of March. However, this will now not be the
case and national reserve payments will be made separately. These payments
will not start until the middle of April at the earliest, with many farmers
not receiving their national reserve payment until May. NFUS has called for
clear information for farmers waiting for payments.
To date, over 90% of farmers have received an advance payment based on three
quarters of their original SFP entitlement. Those farmers who applied to
the national reserve are therefore awaiting the remaining balance payment
on their original entitlement, plus the national reserve payment. Payments
of balances started this week, but these will now not include the national
There is additional confusion for national reserve applicants who are also
trying to consolidate. The information from the Executive on the outcome
of their application has not confirmed their final number of entitlements
and they may therefore not know how many hectares they must have by the 15
May IACS deadline this year
NFUS has also expressed real concern for cross-border farms, with land in
both England and Scotland, whose payments are being held up as a result of
the incompetence of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Whilst these farms will
have received an advance payment based on their land in Scotland, they will
not receive a balance payment until Defra and the RPA sort out the horrendous
problems facing the English payment system.
NFUS President John Kinnaird said:
“National reserve applicants in Scotland need to know where they stand.
All they have been told is that the aim was to start payments by the end
of March. We now learn that payments will be delayed until well into April
at best. For others that applied under more than one category of the national
reserve, it appears there is no chance they will see payments until May.
“This problem is compounded by the lack of information coming out
of SEERAD direct to farmers. Many are unclear as to their final number of
entitlements and some will understandably need that before deciding if they
must rent in land by 15 May.
“The Executive has done far better than the RPA in England, but we
can’t afford for the system to go off the rails now. Likewise, the
Department needs to be ready to press the button on final payments for cross-border
farms whenever the RPA and Defra gets its act together. These farms are being
penalised by the incompetence of the English authorities.”
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