The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has reduced its bank helpline opening hours because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lines will now be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 2pm.
The RPA said in a statement: “We’re committed to maintain vital services for our customers. However, to safeguard our people during these exceptional times, we’ve had to reduce the bank helpline opening hours.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and ask that you please bear with us during this time.
“We will keep reviewing the situation and publish further updates when available.”
The RPA announced on Monday (11 January) that it had delivered its best-ever December performance and had paid just under 98% of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims, despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Payments during December were made to about 82,500 eligible claimants in England and were worth more than £1.77bn in total – the best early BPS payments performance since the scheme opened in 2015.
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “We understand how important our services are to farmers and land managers across the country and I’m pleased that we have been able to show year-on-year improvements.
“It has been a difficult year for many and I am pleased that we have shown our commitment to agricultural and rural communities, and to those that have kept the nation fed during such challenging times.”