25 July 1997

Docked IACS cash rebates

HUNDREDS of farmers who lost their entire IACS payments as a result of genuine errors when making their 1993/4 claims are to receive compensation from MAFF.

The European Court of Justice upheld a case brought by the NFU on behalf of 120 farmers, badly hit by the loss of all their arable area payments.

The judgment said MAFFs decision to reject farmers entire claims if their errors were 20% off target was too severe. MAFF said it had written to 215 farmers who it believed could now be entitled to compensation, but could not comment on the size of the potential pay-out.

"We are writing to find out more about their circumstances and claims and are awaiting the European Commissions interpretation of the judgement," said a MAFF spokesman.

The commission amended the IACS scheme to introduce less severe penalties for farmers making similar errors in 1995, after pressure from EU members.