RPA staff should not be paid bonuses, say MPs

Staff dealing with Single Payment Scheme claims at the Rural Payments Agency should not receive a bonus until the performance of the organisation has improved, MPs have said.

Members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee have written to DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman to raise concerns over ongoing problems at the RPA.

The letter says that no-one working in the management of the Single Payment Scheme should earn a bonus until there is “clear and independently audited evidence” that the organisation has “significantly improved its performance”.

“Many MPs continue to hear harrowing stories of the hardship caused to farmers by late payment from the RPA,” said Anne McIntosh, chair of the EFRA committee.

“We note the agency has met the EU’s target for SPS payments today (30 June), but warn there is no room for complacency.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact of RPA failures on the basic welfare of many farmers. We have therefore asked the department a series of questions about how persistent failures will be resolved.

“We will also continue to press the government to identify and address challenges for the future. “ 

The letter poses a number of questions such as how many payments are still outstanding from the years preceding 2010.

It has demanded answers  by Monday 11 July.

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