24 May 1996

IACSdelay fears

FARMERS fear the failure of MAFFs proposed new grant payment system will lead to more delays for producers who have submitted IACS forms.

MAFF has revealed that the Bankers Automated Clearing System, which was set up in April 1995, has been put on hold following computer problems at its regional service centres. Although 35,000 producers had sent MAFF with bank details, these will now have to be destroyed.

A spokesman said: "We very much regret this delay as it means we are not able, for the moment, to provide a more effective, secure and efficient method of making payments."

As a result, IACS cheques will be processed in the normal manner, but the NFU said it was very concerned that producers might face similar delays as those encountered earlier this year when some producers did not receive their grants until seven weeks after the payment deadline (Dec 31).

Meanwhile, MAFF revealed that they had received just over 77,000 area aid application claims by the May 15 deadline: 2500 lower than last years total. The 5% shortfall could be due to farmers who had been caught up in the beef crisis, said the NFU.

Farmers submitting claims to MAFF regional service centres lose 1% of entitlement for every working days delay until Jun 11, when the entire grant will be withdrawn.