22 March 2002

IACSdelays after job cuts

THE NFU has warned that planned staff cuts at the Rural Payments Agency will mean more IACS delays next year.

Union cereals committee chairman Richard Butler said that he was concerned that plans to make staff cuts were based on a big increase in uptake of e-IACS – the method of applying for direct subsidies over the internet.

"If uptake doesnt increase and they reduce staff numbers, whatll that do to the payment schedule?"

He also criticised the RPAs practice of withholding payments because of "piffling" errors.

The RPA was unprepared to comment about the nature of individual IACS queries, but said any downsizing of the organisation was not dependant on uptake of e-IACS.

&#8226 The RPA has unveiled plans to re-map all 1.7m parcels of IACS-eligible land. &#42

Farmers in Devon and Somerset will be the first to receive new digitally-generated maps from the Agency in July.