NBA welcomes single farm payments

The National Beef Association (NBA) has welcomed news that farmers across the UK have already started receiving their single farm payments.

After years of problems with the Single Payment Scheme, this year’s payments seem to be going as planned, with many Scottish and Welsh farmers already receiving payment and 86% of English farmers are expecting payments to be made by the end of the month. Northern Irish farmers are expecting their notifications from 9 December and payments from 12 December.

However, NBA chairman Hamish McBean said that this week’s ruling in favour of nine English farmers who suffered maladministration under the scheme in 2005 and 2006 serves as a reminder that errors and delays can be hugely detrimental to farming businesses and must be avoided in the future.

He said: “It is a great pleasure to hear from so many of our members who have received notification of their payment. They have been relieved from the pressure of worrying about when the money will appear and will be able to enjoy Christmas with their families without a financial cloud hanging over their businesses.

“But let us not forget the proposed CAP reforms currently on the table and the chaos this could plunge the system into post-2014. It really is essential that we secure a positive deal on CAP that is simple to administer. While it is vital that CAP is in the best interests of farmers, it also needs to be something Defra and the devolved governments can deal with. The current proposals would be so bureaucratically burdensome that no computer system or payment scheme could cope.

“At the same time as the government and stakeholder groups battle in Europe, the NBA would also like to see the RPA and others anticipate the changes coming and be as prepared as possible. We do not want to see a repeat of what happened in 2005 and 2006.”