The President of the Country Land and Business Association, David
Fursdon and the National Chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association,
Reg Haydon today issued the following joint statement in the midst
of the deepening cash crisis in agriculture caused by the failure
of DEFRA and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to keep to their promised
timetable for delivering payments under the Single Payments Scheme
"We are astonished and dismayed at the lack of progress being
made by the RPA on making payments to hard pressed farm businesses.
The stress and anxiety that is being caused to a significant number
within the farming community is reaching worrying levels. Both
our organisations are receiving an increasing number of calls from
distressed individuals who simply can't tighten their financial
belts any further.
We will be telling DEFRA Minister Lord Bach in a meeting this
afternoon that having changed the leadership of the RPA it is vital
that there is an urgent statement explaining how matters are to
be improved. Without swift action we will see the whole sector
grind to a halt and it will be impossible to even start rebuilding
the lost trust between farmers who feel rightly let down and the
In a joint statement between our two organisations last autumn,
we urged landlords and tenants to discuss any problems that might
arise through delays to payments particularly in relation to rent.
We are pleased to report that we are unaware of any situations
were landlords and tenants have not been able to reach sensible
compromises in the face of the inevitable cash flow difficulties
caused by payment delays. However, as we are approaching the traditional
period for making spring rent payments we believe we should reiterate
some of the earlier advice.
Landlords and tenants affected by late SPS payments should act
reasonably. Landlords should not react by automatic service of
formal notices and tenants should not expect the rent automatically
to be deferred or waived. This is an issue of cash flow for both
parties and should be handled through dialogue. Where rent is being
deferred by agreement it might also be the case that some landlord's
expenditure on repairs and improvements may have to be deferred
until the rent income becomes available.
Arrangements need to be put in place for the mutual benefit of
both parties. Rent should be paid when due unless there is full
and open disclosure of the position, and an agreed solution. At
the same time, where parties have been in discussion, the occasion
of late payments should not be exploited for individual gain. The
delay in SPS payments should not be used by either side to justify
long standing disputes.
The CLA and TFA are ready and willing to advise members facing
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