UK fined £15.9m for CAP errors

The UK has been ordered to repay the European Commission almost £16m for failing to meet rules surrounding the CAP.

The Rural Payments Agency’s failure to meet statutory deadlines on payments between October 2007 and October 2008 cost taxpayers £12.5m.

A further £3.1m fine was handed down for weaknesses in running the rural development scheme.

The repayment is the third one the UK government has had to pay over the RPA’s handling of the single farm payment system. Last year the UK faced a £75m fine for late payments.

Dacion Ciolos, commissioner for agriculture and rural development, said: “This exercise remains a very important instrument in making sure that Member States have sufficient controls in place to ensure that taxpayers’ money is properly spent.”

The Commission has claimed back a total of £305.2m from member states who failed to pay out Common Agricultural Policy funds properly.

Greece was the worst offender, facing repayments of more than £100m for its poor handling of cotton control systems and persistent weaknesses in its IACS system.

The demand for repayments came as the RPA announced it would publish information on all the single farm payments it made between October 2008 and October 2009.

Under Commission rules, the agency must publish the details by 30 April.

The information will include the name the claim is made under, payments for the year, local town and the first three or four digits of the recipient’s postcode.

The information will remain on the website for two financial years from the date of publication.

Those requiring information on their rights as a data subject are advised to go to the RPA’s website and click on “Access to information”, then “Personal data”.

Those who do not have access to the internet are advised to call the Customer Service Centre on 0845 603 7777.