18 January 2001
Software blamed for suckler delay

By FWi staff

OLD software has been blamed for delays to suckler cow premium advances.

Many farmers expected their cheques in November, but MAFF did not start processing claims until 31 December.

A ministry spokesman said a computer system had to be updated because of Agenda 2000 changes.

The switch from the old software to the new had gone smoothly, but staff had to be retrained, he said.

NFU president Ben Gill has written to farm minister Nick Brown demanding a full explanation.

MAFF has now promised that 80% of the full payment is being sent to producers in England. But it ruled out paying any interest to make up for the wait.