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RPA incompetence set to cost taxpayer - Farron

October 3, 2016 3:31 PM

The "utter incompetence" of the Government's Rural Payments Agency will leave taxpayers to foot the bill. South Lakes MP Tim Farron is demanding immediate action from the Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom MP.

The Basic Payment Scheme is currently funded by the EU, but is administered in the UK by the RPA. The final deadline for completing payments is fast approaching - any payments not made by the 14th October will not be eligible for EU funding and will instead have to be funded by the UK Treasury.

Farmers had originally expected their farm support payments nine months ago. The previous year, 97% of farmers had received their payments by the end of December.

However, this year Tim is still taking up the cases of many local farmers who have yet to receive the funds they were due under the 2015 scheme. Farmers in the South Lakes are particularly badly hit, because it is largely those who farm common land who have not been paid.

Tim said: "Far too many local farmers have received an atrocious level of service from the RPA this year, with many still now waiting for payments. Shockingly, the RPA all too often simply have no idea when payments will be made - they have even resorted to advising claimants to contact charities to tide them over.

"With the deadline rapidly looming, it is not just farmers but now also taxpayers who will pay the price for the RPA's incompetence. The RPA must make any remaining payments without delay, otherwise UK taxpayers will effectively be left to pay twice for this support.

"Andrea Leadsom, the new Environment Secretary, must take control of what is happening in her department to ensure not just that this year's payments are made immediately, but also that this shambles is not repeated next year."