News
29th Apr

2020

TFA Media Release – MR20/21 – Lessons Must be Learned for Future Farm Schemes

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), has called for lessons to be learned when designing future farm schemes following the two major announcements by the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) this week. The news that BPS and Stewardship claim deadlines were to be pushed back to 15 June, was quickly followed by the offer of bridging payments for outstanding Stewardship claims before the end of May.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said, “Whilst there are some who would not have been able to make the 15 May deadline for Basic Payment Scheme and Stewardship Claims given the current Covid-19 restrictions, it is disappointing that a more innovative solution was not forthcoming to keep the 15 May deadline for the vast majority of individuals whilst providing specific measures for those with difficulties.  However, now that the decision has been made to move the deadlines to June, we must not see this being used as an excuse for making late payments under these schemes.”

Following the later announcement from the RPA around bridging payments for Stewardship schemes, Mr Dunn said, “We welcome the news that farmers are now to receive the payments that they were due for work already done under these Stewardship schemes.  Although it has been stated that this is to help support the cash flow of farmers through the Covid-19 crisis, it was clear that the RPA’s poor performance to date would have meant a significant shortfall in payments by the end of the regulatory window for payments in June.”

“However, the RPA must ensure to continue its work to finalise claims so that, in the vast majority of cases, the remaining 25% of the payments can be delivered by the end of June.”

“Lessons must also be learned for the development of future schemes which is why we need to pause current plans for transition from the Basic Payment Scheme to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.  Countryside Stewardship is simply not fit for purpose,” said Mr Dunn.

-Ends-

Ref:  MR 20/21  

Date: 29 April 2020

Notes for Editors:

For media enquiries, contact Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator, on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

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