SFP delays loom unless MEPs agree financial rules

Single farm payments could be delayed this year unless the European parliament agrees to financial discipline rules within the next few weeks.

So-called financial discipline rules from Brussels mean single farm payments for 2013 must be reduced by about 4% – but the European parliament must agree to that percentage. Unless MEPs do so by mid-November, farmers face the prospect of delayed payments.

NFU senior CAP adviser Gail Soutar said she didn’t want to create unnecessary alarm. But there could be an effect on 2013 single payments if agreement was delayed, she told a union council meeting at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on Tuesday (15 October).

Last year, some 95,000 farmers received their money on the first day of the payment window, said Ms Soutar. But swift payments this year would depend on financial discipline being agreed by mid-November “at the absolute latest”, she added.

“Farmers could see some delays to their payments. We’re not looking, I hope, at significant delays – maybe a matter of a few days – but please be aware that even if you got paid on the first day of business last year, this year it is dependant on financial discipline being agreed.”

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