31 March 1995

MAFFs payment mix-up

A MAFF blunder has resulted in some farmers in South Lincs being notified of other growers final oilseed rape payments.

Trevor Howood, NFU county cereals committee chairman said the error has led to complaints of breaches in confidentiality, particularly when penalties had been imposed.

"If a farmer makes a genuine error in completing his IACS form, MAFF comes down hard on him and imposes penalties," said Mr Harwood.

"The strength of feeling is that the ministry should not take such a hard line on our errors, when they can made such a crass blunder as this," he added.

A spokesman at MAFFs Nottingham service centre said a clerical error had resulted in copies of the final payment schedule going out in the wrong envelopes.

The error was quickly discovered and all farmers within a batch of 85 had been contacted, by telephone and letter, and given an explanation and apology. He claimed there would be no payment delays and only a few farmers received the wrong payment notification.