Computer glitches are still preventing farmers from completing their single farm payments online, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has revealed.
With just two weeks left of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) window, some users have been reporting difficulties using the online applications system over the last few days.
Farmers and land agents filling out forms on behalf of their clients have reported huge frustrations using the online system.
The problem first emerged a fortnight ago when the RPA confirmed there was an intermittent problem with the Government Gateway system, which was affecting other government services.
In a statement published on its website on Friday (2 May), the RPA said: “Some users have reported difficulties accessing SPS Online over the last few days.
“We are working hard to fix this problem and as we know more about this, we’ll issue a further update here.”
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On Twitter, Leicestershire farmer James Goodson (@castleviewfarm), vented his frustrations with the online system.
He tweeted a picture of a computer screenshot showing an error message from the RPA website and fumed “Totally unacceptable!!”
The RPA said users, like Mr Goodson, who were having problems logging in to Government Gateway “are advised to try logging in later” to see the status of their claims.
Those who were able to log in to SPS Online were being reminded to save changes to their applications as they submit details.
The RPA advised: “If you have any problems when you submit an SPS application, please check your emails to see if you’ve received a receipt.
“If you’re not sure if your application has been submitted successfully, you can log back into SPS Online to check.”
Meanwhile, the RPA said its telephone customer service centre would be closed over the bank holiday weekend (3-5 May). It will reopen again on Tuesday (6 May) at 8.30am.
Since the SPS 2014 application window opened on 20 February, more than 45,000 applications have been made online.
All SPS applications, whether online or paper, must reach the RPA by midnight on 15 May to avoid late application penalties.
Richard Wordsworth, senior SPS adviser at the NFU, said union members can visit www.nfuonline.com for information on how to submit SPS applications or telephone 0870 845 8458 for help.
See the RPA website for further advice