BPS no longer available in euros, Scotland confirms

Farmers applying for Basic Payment Scheme support can no longer be paid in euros, the Scottish government has confirmed.

Scotland’s confirmation comes after Defra had already announced that claimants in England would be paid in sterling once the UK left the EU on 31 January.

It means support funding will be drawn from the UK Treasury’s coffers in the future, rather than a central fund in Brussels.

See also: Coronavirus: Applying for farm support schemes

It also means that farmers will not be able to capitalise on favourable euro-sterling exchange rates.

Previously, being paid in euros could be advantageous when the currency was relatively strong against the pound.

However, despite the lost opportunity, Richard King, partner and head of business research at The Andersons Centre consultancy, said farmers had gained in other ways.

The UK Treasury has set payments at an equivalent rate of €1 = £0.89092, Mr King pointed out.

The rate is relatively good for British farmers, so they will be paid at a competitive level to their EU counterparts, Mr King said.

“The UK rate has also been confirmed much earlier than it was under the EU. Before, farmers had to wait until well into the autumn to know how much funding they would receive.

“While some of the flexibility and ability to capitalise on a weak pound has gone, the earlier notification aids business planning,” he explained.

Ensure bank details are correct

The switch to sterling means farmers across the UK regions should ensure they provide their relevant payments authority with the correct bank details.

The Scottish government has urged farmers to provide the Rural Payments and Inspections Division with details of a sterling bank account.

A Scottish government official said: “We can only make payments to a bank account that accepts the Bankers Automated Clearing Services [Bacs] payments.”

Farmers should check this is the case with their banks and change their details via the relevant payment website, if necessary, the official said.

UK payment agency websites:

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