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"Benn should keep Single Farm Payments top of the agenda" - Farron

July 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming has welcomed a statement from new Secretary of State for the Environment regarding Single Farm Payments, which commits the Department to paying interest to farmers paid after the cut-off date of June 30th 2007.

Mr Benn, who took up the post only last week, said in a statement to the House of Commons this week:

"About 2,900 claimants have received a partial payment and await the balancing sum, work has also to be completed in respect of a further 2,000 claims. Interest will be paid to claimants on sums paid after 30 June on the same basis as for the 2005 scheme."

Tim Farron, in his capacity as Chair of the APPG on Hill Farming has long campaigned for a speedy resolution to all claims by farmers on the Single Payments scheme, and had the following to say after Mr Benn's statement:

"It is pleasing to see that some 98% of farmers have received their money, and that those who have to wait till after the cut off date will receive interest on their money.

"However, this will come as little comfort to the 2,000 farmers who are still waiting for their money. I hope the new Secretary of State will inject some much needed vitality into the system and minimise any further inconvenience to farmers."