After a fraction of one penny subsidy underpayment was deposited in his bank account. Cyril Lewis has accused Welsh assembly civil servants of getting their priorities wrong.

First, the north Wales hill farmer was told by letter that his 2005 payment under the Tir Mynydd Scheme for less favoured areas was being reviewed. Now 0.016p has been deposited in his business bank account using the BACS system to correct an error.

“The assembly has spent money on postage for sending two letters and for working out that figure, and I am likely to be charged the normal 70p for a payment into the account,” said Mr Lewis, Penybryn, Penmachno in Caernarfonshire.

“The whole thing is a bloody ridiculous waste of time. I am furious that while the assembly has spent so much time calculating that I am owed less than 1p I have been left waiting for other payments.”

He should have received £9000 under the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme in June, but he has been warned he could wait until September while his claim is cross-checked against his single farm payment to ensure there is no double funding.

“The assembly has already cut my Tir Gofal payments by 30%, now it is making me wait for checks. This will have a big impact on the farm’s cash flow position.”

* Cyril Lewis runs 1000 breeding sheep on 282ha near Bettws-y-Coed and is a member of the Welsh Mountain sheep breed’s CAMDA genetic improvement scheme.