NFU leader Peter Kendall is among thousands of farmers still waiting for their annual subsidy cheque, it has emerged.
Almost 6,000 farmers have yet to receive their 2010 single farm payment. Letters from the Rural Payments Agency telling farmers they would be paid the money by the end of June were inadequate, said Mr Kendall.
“We have a letter sitting on the desk at home. There is not a lot of detail in it. There is no real explanation about what’s happening or crumbs of comfort and farmers are rightly expecting a much higher level of delivery than we have had in the past.”
Mr Kendall said he accepted the government had been trying to fix a system that was badly broken. But farm minister Jim Paice had been in place for almost a year and it was time for him to stop over-promising and under-delivering.
“There are too many members who are waiting, not only for this year’s payment, but for payments from previous years as well,” Mr Kendall told the NFU Council. “In eight months’ time, when these payments come round again, we expect them to be got right and to be paid on time.”
The Farm Crisis Network has been inundated with calls from frustrated farmers still waiting for payments. Mr Kendall said using the network to speed up payments should only be used by farmers in desperate need, rather than others who could cope.
“It is a really difficult balancing act, but we have to make sure that people don’t use the network just because they don’t want to extend their borrowings or use their overdraft facility. I have had too many examples given to me of farmers using the network who certainly don’t need to.”
Read our interview with RPA chief executive Mark Grimshaw