The Rural Payments Agency has been told it needs to do more to help those farmers who have to yet receive any single farm payment money.

Leaders of the NFU, Country Land and Business Association and Tenant Farmers Association met junior DEFRA minister Lord Rooker and Tony Cooper, the new RPA chief on Wednesday (24 May).

The organisations were told a further 1,700 farmers received a payment during the last week but this leaves a significant number – over 3000 – still waiting.

It appears the unpaid claims can be divided into two main groups. One group was sent validated statements in February with a promise of payment.

The second group all have claims which are still going through the validation process. Many of these need some specialist input on particular issues (e.g. cross-border or dual claims).

In a joint statement the organisations said: “While we were told these claims would be top priority, we are concerned they have still not been paid and do not know when this will happen. The RPA received a very clear message this morning about where and how their efforts should be directed.

“What we have insisted is these claimants must receive priority in every way. They must be top of the list for processing and top of the list for clarity.

“We put forward a number of practical suggestions, including a greater degree of personal contact, so those with no idea of what is holding up their claim can at least know action is being taken.”