8 December 2015
Article by Nia Seaton, National Assembly for Wales Research Service
Over the last few weeks the four governments of the UK have been confirming their timelines for issuing Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments to farmers. These are the EU support payments farmers receive under the CAP. These will be the first payments to be issued under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules. The payment window for issuing payments to farmers runs from 1 December to 30 June each year.
In most previous years farmers across the UK would have submitted their applications for payments in May and the majority would have expected to receive their payment early in December when the payment window opened. This year due to the complexities involved in implementing the new rules and operating new payment systems farmers across the UK are likely to receive their payments at different times.
- Farmers in Wales will receive their payments in two parts, farmers will receive approximately 80 per cent of their payment in the first instalment and the remaining 20 per cent in a second instalment;
- That the ‘majority’ of farmers will receive the first instalment in December and ‘vast majority’ early in the new year. The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food has announced that 50 per cent of farmers can expect to receive their first instalment by 4 December 2015;
- The ‘small minority’ of farmers who don’t receive the their first instalment in December or early January will be sent an update on the progress of the claim at the end of January; and
- The ‘vast majority’ of farmers will receive the second instalment of 20 per cent by the end of April 2016.
- The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, has stated in the Assembly’s Chamber that making payments to farmers as early as possible in the payment window is her ‘number one priority’.
In England, the Rural Payment Agency in its most recent update to farmers has stated that it is ‘on track’ to make full payments early in the payment window:
- The ‘majority’ of farmers will receive full payment by the end of December;
- The ‘vast majority’ of farmers will receive full payment by the end of January 2016; and
- Farmers who aren’t likely to get paid by the end of January 2016 will be contacted.
On 13 November 2015 the Department for Agricultural and Rural Development announced that it is aiming to pay 95 per cent of farmers in Northern Ireland their full payment in December. The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neil has stated that this 95 per cent figure will include many inspection cases. Inspection cases are cases where officials have been required to either visit the farm or to inspect using remote sensing to test the validity of a claim. The Minister has committed to paying the remainder of the inspection cases by March 2015.
Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment has outlined in a letter (PDF 127KB) to the Scottish Parliament that:
- Farmers in Scotland will receive their payments in two parts; farmers will receive approximately 70 per cent of their payment in the first instalment and the remainder in a second instalment by the end of April;
- A quarter of Scottish farmers will receive a first instalment in December 2015;
- The ‘majority’ of Scottish farmers will receive a first instalment by the end of January 2016.