More than 92% of farmers in England received their 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money in the first two weeks of the payment window.
The latest figures from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) show that 92.4% of payments were made by end of Friday 13 December, worth £1.6bn. Farmers Weekly understands the total funding pot is £1.8bn.
This builds on the 59,600 farmers who received payments totalling £1.2bn on 2 December, the first day of the payment window.
The NFU said the RPA had done well to make almost 93% of BPS payments by mid-December – its best early performance for years.
In addition, those who claimed in 2019 on their Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements will receive one full payment this year, as part of Defra plans to deliver a better service to farmers and land managers.
ES and CS final payments have started to arrive in farmers’ bank accounts four months earlier than last year, with £77.8m ES and £4.3m CS payments made so far.
Eligible customers should expect to receive their payment within the payment window that runs between December 2019 and June 2020.
NFU deputy president Guy Smith said: “It’s the best December BPS performance we have seen yet, but that is coming from a low bar.
“But we are a little bit disappointed with the level of CS payments made so far.”
Mr Smith, who farms in St Osyth, Essex, said he had yet to receive his own BPS and CS cash this year.
“We are aware that when the vast majority of people are getting paid, for those who have not been paid – that includes me – it can be painful.”
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “We are committed to ensuring timely payments to farmers and land managers, so that rural businesses can plan for the year ahead.
“We remain focused on continuously improving the delivery and performance of BPS, CS and ES schemes, and this year CS and ES customers will receive their one full payment against their annual claim.”
Meanwhile, the vast majority of farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already received their BPS money.
Farmers urged to remain vigilant against fraud
- Your bank, the police or the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will never ask you to reveal your online password, PIN or bank account details or ask you to make a payment over the telephone.
- Never discuss your bank account details with someone you don’t know, or click on unknown or unexpected computer links or emails.
- If in doubt, call the organisation concerned, ideally on a different telephone, using a number you know to be official. You can usually find this on the organisation’s website.
- Be cautious about what you share online. Fraudsters will use information such as social media posts to gain knowledge of a person’s circumstances that will help them to scam victims.
If you suspect an attempted fraud or feel you have been the victim of fraud, you can contact:
- RPA’s fraud referral team on 0800 347 347 or email FraudInConfidence@rpa.gov.uk
- Action Fraud (the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime) on 0300 123 2040
Source: Rural Payments Agency