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Farmers given more time to claim subsidy payments amid coronavirus disruption

PUBLISHED: 08:26 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:26 28 April 2020

NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw has welcomed Defra's decision to extend the claims deadline for subsidy and environmental payments during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Su Anderson

NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw has welcomed Defra's decision to extend the claims deadline for subsidy and environmental payments during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Su Anderson

Archant

Farmers have been given an extra month to submit their claims for subsidy and environmental payments amid the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak.

The government has extended the application window for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) programmes until June 15.

Defra says this will give farmers and their agents an extra month to submit applications and claims, helping them to avoid penalties for late applications.

Rural Payments Agency (RPA) chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “We know the coronavirus is causing issues where farmers are unable to meet their agents, so we are making this extension to allow more time for the farming community to submit their applications and claims without penalty.”

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) vice president Tom Bradshaw said: “I am pleased to see the RPA has acted on our case for being as flexible as possible during the current pandemic and planning ahead to ensure farmers can submit applications and avoid penalties for late applications but at the same tie, I am concerned about the impact extending the claim form deadline could have on the processing of payments.

“The next step will be for the RPA to find a mechanism to ensure timely 2020 payments and that this extension does not result in delays. I encourage everyone who is still able to submit claim forms by the original deadline of 15 May to do so at the earliest opportunity to reduce processing delays.”

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Cath Crowther, East regional director for the Country and Business Association (CLA) added: “The CLA welcomes this extension particularly due to the current pandemic, and because the original deadline coincided with a very busy time in the farming season. The extension acts as a safety blanket for farmers unable to contact their agents or access the RPA’s advisers.

“Despite the extended deadline, we would still encourage farmers to submit their claims electronically by the original deadline of May 15 as it would assist the RPA in making their payments by the end of this year.”

The government has also extended the period for amending claims without penalty to June 30, with final submission of applications and claims now to be with the RPA by July 10. Applications for new CS Higher Tier and Mid Tier agreements are still being accepted ahead of their respective deadlines of May 1 and July 31.


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