Deadline extension ‘not an alternative’ to fixing BPS claims system

It will take more than a deadline extension to rescue the 2015 English BPS claims system, according to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Fundamental reform of the application system was also essential, said CAAV secretary Jeremy Moody.

Speculation has been mounting in the past few days that the claims deadline would be extended from 15 May.

See also: 10 steps to a successful BPS claim

“I stress that I see an extension as a necessary complement to the required improvement or reform of the application system, giving time for such changes to work,” said Mr Moody.

“Those changes are imperative. An extension is not an alternative to them. 

“If people, can’t make an application, they can’t be paid,” said Mr Moody, who met EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan on 6 March to lobby for an extension.

The organisation has 2,500 members and every day that ticked by on the countdown to 15 May, with the system down was another day lost, said Mr Moody. The CAAV is also lobbying Defra on the issues.

“We’ve done a lot of higher level work to press for an extension but we don’t see that as an alternative to reform [of the claims system]. We need reform and that in turn also needs an extension.

“We’re very clearly seeing more farmers rattled by the process. They know it matters.”

An extension was also necessary in order for those advising farmers to complete the workload ahead of them, said Mr Moody.

One member who had 137 SPS applications to do last year now has more than 200 BPS claims to process. These numbers reflected to mood from all parts of the country, he said.

The problem in England was front-loaded, in that no claims could be submitted, said Mr Moody. In Scotland, the issues were comparable with the situation in 2005, he said.

The guidance was incomplete, lacked clarity and the forms drafted did not match the policy – but people were able to get applications.

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