Farmer waits three years for subsidy cheque
By FWi staff
A WELSH farmer who has won a three-year battle to for his subsidy cheque has received more than 50 phone calls from farmers in similar situations.
Gwynedd Jones, who farms 61 hectares near Criccieth, lost about 8,000 in subsidy payments after officials claimed he had not handed in the necessary forms.
Mr Jones had taken his completed IACS forms to the agricultural department of the Welsh Office on 8 May 1996 where they were later misplaced by officials.
He handed over the forms in person well before the deadline for submissions and was given a receipt acknowledging he had done so.
“I never post anything because Ive had problems before,” he told FWi.
At the end of 1996, Mr Jones received part payment of his subsidies based on the information on the forms.
But in March 1997, officials told him Mr Jones that he would not be get any more money because the forms could not be traced.
By that time, Mr Jones was unable to produce the receipt, enabling Welsh Office officials to argue that he had never submitted the forms.
“They were accusing me of not sending them in,” said Mr Jones.
After seeking legal advice, the case was finally settled out of court earlier this month.
MAFF agreed to pay the outstanding subsidies with interest as well as the legal costs for both sides.
Mervyn Jones-Evans, the Caernarfon-based solicitor who represented Mr Jones said it was “neither here nor there” that the receipt was not produced.
“Common sense dictated that this man had filled out the forms,” he said.
After winning his case, estimated to have cost MAFF a total of 24,000, Mr Jones is now urging farmers in similar positions to fight all the way.
“A number of farmers are having the same problems and they shouldnt be afraid of complaining,” he said.