The NFU’s ruling body has agreed on a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the Rural Payments Agency over its ability to deliver single farm payments.

NFU council expressed its frustration with the Rural Payments Agency at its meeting on Tuesday (17 an) following impassioned speeches by individual members. 

Traditionally farmers have received their CAP payments between October and January of each year but the switch to the new Single Payment Scheme has meant a delay in processing by the Rural Payments Agency. 

In October of 2005 Lord Bach assured the NFU that the revised payments would start in February 2006 but the NFU is concerned that this deadline will not be met. 

Doubts were raised by evidence given to EFRA on 11 January by Lord Bach, who admitted that the RPA still had “400,000 tasks to complete”.  

Tasks are individual processes before the payments can be calculated.  DEFRA is also refusing to guarantee that the payments will be made on time.

Tim Bennett, President of the NFU said: “Every council member was angry and dismayed to hear that farmers’ payments are likely to be delayed. 

“Many of our members are already up to the limit on what they can borrow from their banks so their backs are up against the wall.

“It’s not just an issue for farmers, their suppliers are also struggling because bills that should have been settled by now are still outstanding.  The whole of the rural economy is under threat.”