The Tenant Farmers Association has lodged its concerns over the chaotic administration of the Single Payment Scheme with the senior management of the Rural Payments Agency and DEFRA ministers.
These concerns are to be discussed with senior RPA staff at meetings this week.
TFA national chairman Reg Haydon said: “At the TFA’s Annual General Meeting in February we were told by the RPA’s chief executive Johnston McNeill that the RPA was getting on top of the job and that in a few short weeks we would see real improvements.
“I have to say that we have seen matters go from bad to worse and there is much justifiable anger amongst farmers”.
In particular, big problems have been caused by the RPA’s decision to circulate standard letters covering un-validated entitlement statements, he said.
“This decision was clearly wrong and has caused much anxiety amongst nearly all of our members who have received them.
“We have handled a huge number of calls from members clearly worried that they are missing large chunks of land or history and this has led to major confusion and stress.
“We have had a massive job in explaining to members that these letters must only be seen as an acknowledgement that the RPA has received a claim and there is still work to be done” said Mr Haydon.
The TFA has demanded the following:
- The complete validation of all 2005 claims achieved by close of play Friday 24 March. Sufficient resources should be found from wherever to achieve this with no excuses.
- Payments to be made to applicants’ bank accounts within 7 days of validation.
- The establishment of a special unit, competently staffed, to deal with double claims caused by landlords submitting claims without the knowledge of their tenants who have also done so.
- Detailed entitlement statements to include the methodology to check them.
- RLE1 forms should be abandoned for land transfers and allow changes in land areas to be made on 2006 application forms.
- The transfer notification period for entitlement trading should be reduced to 4 weeks.
- Blank SP5 and RLE1 forms should be made available now particularly for agents.
The establishment of a special unit, competently staffed, to deal with FVP entitlement issues which along with land swaps are causing huge problems.
- Recognition by the RPA of the huge number of mapping problems that still exist to be resolved and that these should be dealt with as soon as possible.