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Farron: Farm Payments Agency A 'Disgrace'

July 5, 2016 10:52 AM

Tim FarronThe Rural Payments Agency has been branded a "disgrace" by South Lakes MP Tim Farron, following the revelation that many common land farmers have still not received their 2015 payments yet.

The RPA has admitted that IT problems have meant that many payments for common land claims have still not been made. Exasperated local farmers have contacted Tim to explain the financial pressure they are under.

The RPA originally said that it would "pay the vast majority of claimants by the end of January", and that "the payment window will close on 30 June 2016." However, according to the government's figures, there were still around 800 farmers last week yet to receive the money they are due. When Tim spoke with the RPA, they could not say when payments would be made.

Tim has written to the Environment Minister to call for urgent steps to be taken so that farmers receive their money without delay, and the RPA is reformed so that this situation does not arise again.

Tim said: "It is a disgrace that farmers have still not received their payments yet. Farmers in our area already face low prices and the aftermath of the floods last winter, the least the government could do is to pay up what it owes.

"The RPA's failure to pay our farmers on time is utterly unacceptable. Farmers were expecting this money half a year ago. They now have bills to pay and need to invest for the future, but cannot because they are still waiting for payment.

"The RPA must pay our farmers immediately and make serious changes so that this debacle is never repeated."