5 July 2002

Much needed payments are still delayed

FRUSTRATION is growing at delays to 2001 livestock subsidy claims with many farmers complaining they have been left waiting for money which they had banked on receiving last month.

About 80% of Suckler Cow Premium payments, 43% of Slaughter Premiums and 34% of Beef Special Premium payments are still outstanding, according to latest figures from the Rural Payments Agency.

The agency announced at the end of May that farmers would have to wait until the end of July for the remaining 20% of all 2001 livestock payments.

The delay is because officials are having to cross-check all claims against the British Cattle Movement Service database. The deadline for paying balancing payments on bovine claims should have been June 30.

Richard Collington, of Hill Crest Farm in Wymeswold, Leics, said that he was waiting for payments totalling £10,000.

And following a telephone call to DEFRAs Nottingham office, it was suggested he might have to wait until mid-August until the money came through.

"I think its a bad deal if people have to wait for money that they are legally entitled to," he said. "I can name four or five people in the same boat."

Gary Martin of Brick Farm, Herstmonceux, East Sussex, said he had been told he was responsible for the fact there was no record of six of his animals on the BCMS computer. He now feared that he would not get paid at all. He would also have to pay the advance payments back.

"This is alarming. We tear out the postcard and then we are beholden on the post-office to deliver them and BCMS to enter them onto the computer."

An RPA spokeswoman claimed the agency would make most payments by the end of July. &#42