TFA Media Release No. 28 – TFA Presses the Case for Extension to English 2016 BPS Deadline

TFA Presses the Case for Extension to English 2016 BPS Deadline

The Tenant Farmers Association has written for a second time to DEFRA Minister of State, George Eustice MP, asking for an extension to the 2016 deadline for the Basic Payment Scheme in England.

TFA Chief Executive George Dunn said “The TFA first asked for an extension to the 2016 deadline on 14 April following what we saw as a ‘line in the sand’ meeting of the Rural Payments Agency’s Technical Stakeholder Group on the previous day when it became clear to us that the size of the task ahead was simply too large for it to be achieved by the 16 May deadline particularly as both the agency and applicants were being dragged back by the legacy of issues associated with the 2015 scheme year”.

“Yesterday I attended a meeting of the RPA’s senior stakeholder group to discuss progress both on settling matters for 2015 and on meeting this year’s deadline.  Much of yesterday’s meeting focused on the inevitable confluence of issues from both 2015 and 2016 with the RPA advising that 2016 applicants should make as good as stab as possible to make an application before the 16 May deadline and then use the statutory adjustment period to the end of May to make any required amendments.  This is an unsatisfactory situation and clearly more time is necessary to allow sensible applications to be submitted on time,” said Mr Dunn.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has signalled that he would be tabling this week the necessary draft legislation providing the option for Member States to apply for an extension until 16 June.

“We heard yesterday that DEFRA first has to consider the line to take on the legislation itself and if it is enacted, whether or not to use the flexibility offered.  The TFA has urged DEFRA both to support the passage of the legislation and then to apply as soon as possible for an extension to the 2016 deadline under the terms of the derogation,” said Mr Dunn.

“The staff of the RPA is working incredibly hard and I continue to have every confidence in Mark Grimshaw as the Agency’s Chief Executive and his management team.  However, the problems of 2015 are continuing to cast a dark shadow over the workload for 2016 and we must provide both the RPA and BPS applicants in England a breathing space to get the work done to a good standard,” said Mr Dunn.

“Having been a lone voice calling for an extension, I am pleased to hear that other organisations are beginning to support our call which must be the right thing to do,” said Mr Dunn.

End

Ref:  MR28 Date: 04 May 2016

Notes for Editors:

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


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