£1.75bn already passed to farmers as payment window opens

The Rural Payments Agency says they have paid out just over 97,500 claims, totalling £1.725bn for farmers in the first few days of the payment window, which runs between December and June.

£1.75bn already passed to farmers as payment window opens

The payments cover the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Countryside Stewardship (CS) revenue and Environmental Stewardship (ES) schemes. Eligible customers should expect to receive their full payment within the payment window which ends in June 2022.

As announced in the Agricultural Transition Plan, Direct Payments will gradually be reduced over a seven year period, starting from this Basic Payment Scheme year. The biggest reductions will initially be made to the higher payment bands.

The money will be repurposed for schemes which incentivise sustainable farming alongside profitable food production – rewarding farmers for actions that improve air and water quality, and protect wildlife and soil health. The RPA’s confirmation of payments comes just a week after the Environment Secretary shared further details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive – the first of the new environmental land management schemes – which will be rolled out next year.

To try and help ensure that farmers are adequately supported throughout this journey, the farming resilience programme will be available throughout the first three years of the agricultural transition period to help those most affected by the phasing out of Direct Payments. This has been designed to help farmers plan and manage their businesses through the transition to the new system.

RPA Chief Executive, Paul Caldwell, commented: “We understand that it has been a challenging year for rural communities, which is why we’re working hard to get payments made as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We have already paid more than 85,000 claims, totalling £1.4bn, but we know there is more to do and we understand the importance of these payments to the rural economy.”

Farmers are advised that payments will be made direct to bank accounts via BACS transfer, so all claimants should ensure that the RPA has the most up-to-date account details on the Rural Payments service. The RPA is also reminding farmers of the dangers of fraud, and have advised they will not be taking card and account details via phone.

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