News
12th Apr

2016

TFA Media Release No. 23 – TFA Questions RPA Capacity to Climb the BPS Mountain

TFA Questions RPA Capacity to Climb the BPS Mountain

The Tenant Farmers Association is calling for assurances from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) that it has the capacity to deliver a successful 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) campaign in England whilst it deals with the legacy of issues from 2015.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said “The TFA is working with the RPA at all levels, from the Chief Executive down, to ensure satisfaction for those still awaiting full payment of valid BPS claims from 2015 and those submitting claims for 2016.  However, what is increasingly clear is that the RPA has a huge mountain to climb in order to fulfil the 2016 BPS campaign by mid-May but it is being significantly dragged back by the baggage of the issues from last year’s campaign rooted in the incompetence of DEFRA in attempting to force all claimants to use a digital portal that was never going to work.  Sadly that wrongheaded decision, which the RPA managed to convince DEFRA to ditch, still has massive implications for the organisation.  However, it is hard working farming families that are suffering from this past Whitehall ineptitude”.

“We expect, at this time of the year, to be dealing with queries from TFA members about applying for BPS.  However, our worry is that despite all of the difficulties of last year our member call volumes are much higher this year than last.  Whilst we are receiving swift answers from the RPA to technical questions about how to complete claims, we are making little headway on practical issues surrounding individuals whose prepopulated data is incomplete, incorrect or in large part simply missing.  With only a month to the 2016 deadline this is a massive concern,” said Mr Dunn.

“The RPA has admitted that it has faced a greater level of complexity in dealing with 2015 claims subject to inspection, however, not only have these individuals remained without payment against 2015 claims they have no information about the impact of the inspections carried out on their ability to claim in 2016.  This is an urgent matter which we are pressing the RPA to address,” said Mr Dunn.

“Similarly, a large number of individuals have been underpaid for 2015.  We understand that the RPA will not begin to address the underpayments until June but claimants still require the underlying reasons for the underpayments to be resolved so that they can put forward valid claims for 2016 before next month,” said Mr Dunn.

“We are in constant dialogue with the RPA on all of these issues and there are regular set piece meetings looking at all of the matters of concern but time is quickly running out and unless over the coming days we see significant movement on the issues of concern, there will be inevitable pressure for a delay in the 2016 deadline for submission of claims,” said Mr Dunn.

end

Ref:  MR23 Date:  12 April 2016

Notes for Editors:

For further information, please contact George Dunn on 07721 998961 or the TFA’s Communications and Events Coordinator, Jenna Kirkpatrick on 0118 930 6130.

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