2017 BPS payments still not received by thousands of farmers and growers

According to recent research by the NFU, around 3,000 farmers are still awaiting their 2017 BPS payments.

It is believed that around 95% of farmers in England have now received their payments from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), however, a small proportion are still yet to have their payments confirmed.

The NFU is concerned that this could affect the cashflow of businesses and prevent them from completing forms for BPS 2018, which opened in March.

The farming union is calling on the RPA to improve its communication with the agricultural community regarding payments so that those affected can plan ahead more effectively.

NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts said the union had “repeatedly and consistently” raised concerns over the delivery of BPS payments with the RPA in previous years.

“We have asked the RPA what more can be done to get affected farmers payments out of the door as soon as possible,” said Mr Roberts.

“Since the last announcement in January, the number of farmers paid has only risen by 2.5 percentage points. Over the past few years, we have seen a fall in the progress of BPS payments after December.”

He continued: “It is equally important that farmers are contacted in the event of payment issues. Many of our members have continued to report to us that they are unable to get any meaningful updates and this lack of communication leaves cash flow planning impossible.

“While we are glad that the RPA listened to our call for bridging payments, and these are expected next month, it is disappointing to see this take several months to land with farmers. We need to see as many farmers paid in full and receiving accurate payments this month.”

However, he added that bridging payments would not be required if the BPS was run effectively. 

Mr Roberts continued: “BPS 2018 looks to be another challenging year with farmers up and down the country needing to make additional mapping changes.

“We’re also urging the RPA to clear all outstanding cases, with some dating back as long as 2015. This needs completing as soon as possible to enable an efficient and improved service for 2018.”