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Uplands payments “too hard to claim” - Farron

January 25, 2011 4:32 PM

TFCumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has warned that the new Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) is too hard for farmers to claim.

The scheme is designed to support farmers who had previously relied on the former Hill Farm Allowance payments for help with environmental management. All farmers with land in Severely Disadvantaged Areas are eligible to apply regardless of the size of their holding, however it seems that many of these farmers are unaware of this opportunity or have simply found the application process too full of obstructions

Figures obtained by Tim show that there have been just 3,900 applications of which 3,300 were eligible and received payouts between the scheme's introduction in spring last year up until December. This is more than 50% lower than the 7,009 successful applications for the Hill Farm Allowance that were received in 2009/2010 and shows that more must be done to encourage and help farmers in less favoured areas to claim for this payment.

Commenting today Tim said: "The UELS is a great scheme that supports many farmers across Britain who live in severely disadvantaged areas, including our hill farmers in Cumbria. However with take up rates this low, it seems that the scheme is not sufficiently accessible

"It is clear that the government needs to work harder to ensure that all farmers in disadvantaged areas are aware of the benefits of this scheme and that they are fully supported in their attempts to make claims."