News
2nd Sep

2013

Media Release 14 – DEFRA should rethink its position on limiting direct payments

DEFRA should rethink its position on limiting direct payments

 

The Tenant Farmers Association has challenged DEFRA to rethink its intention not to place a limit on direct payments to claimants when implementing the current round of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said “Depending on how the final implementing Regulations are drafted, the TFA would support an absolute limit on direct payments to individual claimants at a level of €300,000 (£255,000).  Although the EU rules are likely to allow Member States to have the power to enable those receiving in excess of that amount to ask for salary costs of employed labour to be taken into account for a possible uplift in the limit, the TFA does not consider the additional administrative cost to be justified”.

The TFA sees the principal benefit of such a limit being the ability of the Government to use the money saved to bolster the budget for agri-environment and rural development spending which has taken a hit in the recent negotiations.

“I cannot see why the government does not consider it appropriate to take advantage of the ability to limit payments.  It would lessen the extent to which the Government felt it needed to use modulation of direct payments affecting every recipient to pay for agri-environment and rural development spending,” said Mr Dunn.

In answer to a Parliamentary Question from Andrew George MP, DEFRA has confirmed that only 174 claimants in England are in receipt of in excess of €300,000 of direct payments representing only 0.01% of claimants.  Over 80% of claimants receive less than €25,000 (£21,250).  The savings from those 174 claimants would be at least £70 million.

“From the TFA’s perspective finding at least an extra £70 million of money for expenditure on agri-environment and rural development by restricting these large claims seems to represent good value for money for the taxpayer and could reduce modulation levels by at least four percentage points for every claimant,” said Mr Dunn.

 

Ref:  MR14

Date: 05 August 2013

 

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact George Dunn on 07721 998961 or the TFA’s Communications and Events Coordinator Julie Sheehan on 0118 930 6130.

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