Mental stress ‘unbelievable’, say forgotten victims

Farmers who have yet to receive any single farm payment have said they feel like the forgotten victims of the payment crisis.

Farmers Weekly has been contacted by several producers pointing out that people need to remember that there are still some people waiting for any money at all.

The Rural Payments Agency has suggested that there are about 3725 farmers with claims of more than €1000 (£680), who are to get either a full or partial payment.

“The mental stress is unbelievable,” said one producer from the east of England.

“We are trying to run a farm and the situation is horrendous.”

An RPA spokesman said the agency was working “flat-out” on clearing these priority claims and claimed that progress was being made.

“It is entirely understandable why farmers are concerned and we totally sympathise with that,” he said.

“But we would ask that
farmers don’t call us to ask questions about their claim’s progress, as in all likelihood staff won’t be able to tell them.

The calls will also slow down the processing of claims.”

But farm leaders told the RPA at a meeting on Wednesday (24 May) that more had to be done to help these producers, such as giving them a greater degree of personal contact so they know what is going on.

They said the unpaid claims seemed to divide into two main groups.

One group had been sent validated statements in February – some dated 16 February – with a promise of payment.

The second group had claims which were still going through the validation process and needed some specialist input on
particular issues (eg, cross-border or dual claims).