New entrants to be paid ‘shortly’

New entrants who are yet to receive their National Reserve allocation should receive payment “very shortly” once the Rural Payments Agency has introduced the necessary computer program.

The development of a software patch will allow the RPA to rectify the situation with outstanding National Reserve and Hill Farm Allowance claims.

But only those whose claims are not subject to issues of probate, liquidation or a dual claim can expect to receive the cash.

One distressed new entrant who has yet to receive his National Reserve award contacted Farmers Weekly.

“The continued delay had inflicted undue strain on my health, my finances and my family,” said the caller, who preferred to remain anonymous.

So far he has received just £3300 – albeit about 80% – of his regional element, but he is yet to receive any of his National Reserve award of about £20,000, meaning in total he has received about 14% of his total entitlement.

“It is beginning to look desperate.

With no or little credit history, I’m fast running out of options on which to get by.”

Country Land and Business Association senior economist Derek Wilkinson said it was a familiar story.

“We know of a number of people in similar circumstances.

We’ve been told that the computer patch is being trialled at the Northallerton office and should be rolled out in ‘days not weeks’.”

CLA concern

But he admitted that the CLA was concerned that the problem might not be permanently resolved.

“We need to know whether this is a permanent problem.

Our concern is that this might not be restricted to 2005 applications.”

NFU Single Payment Scheme adviser Richard Wordsworth agreed.

“I have a list of nearly 50 members that are desperately waiting for the RPA to resolve its computer issues before payment can be made.

“From our perspective these share top priority with those who have yet to receive anything or have only received a tiny amount of their claim,” said Mr Wordsworth.

A spokesman for the RPA said there were 9779 successful applicants for the National Reserve, but could not confirm how many were yet to receive payment.

“While we hope the patch will resolve these claims very shortly, those with claims over €1000 (£682) and yet to receive anything continue to be our immediate priority,” said the spokesman.

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