Basic Payment Scheme Update

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News article

Basic Payment Scheme Update

March 2016

rural, planning

Although the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has announced that 77% of claimants have been paid their BPS for 2015 (as at 31/1/2015), it seems that many farmers are still awaiting payment and a number of payments that have been received are not correct.

The latest advice is that claimants with common land or those subject to inspections (remote sensing or physical) will be paid from February onwards, but that Cross-border claimants will have to wait until April 2016.

The RPA are aiming to start sending out Claim Statements from early February, and we would recommend that these are checked carefully against the BPS application forms submitted last year. Discrepancies have arisen with RLE1 forms lost or not yet processed meaning incomplete entitlement transfers and mapping changes, resulting in significantly lower payments than expected in some cases.

Looking to 2016 applications, the RPA have confirmed that they are encouraging applications to be made online, but that paper forms will be available on request, and sent automatically to all farmers (who do not have an agent) who applied by paper in 2014.

The deadline for applications this year will be Monday 16 May 2016.

Greening requirements and land eligibility remain largely unchanged for 2016, and there will still be the option for New Entrants and Young Farmers to apply for additional support.

Online applications

Unlike last year, the online system for applications is the system that the RPA will themselves use; while this will mean there are no issues with the two systems not communicating, the RPA system may not be so user-friendly for claimants. Early previews show that the application web pages will be directly linked to the gov.uk website that 2015 claimants will be familiar with. There should be no registration process required for existing claimants, with login details remaining unchanged from last year.

The online claim process itself will broadly involve three stages:

checking land and entitlement schedules and amending where necessary

checking the pre-populated application form (based on 2015 applications and any land use changes made online) 

making the necessary declarations and submitting.

There are still some actions that cannot be completed online such as adding extra field parcels, for which supplementary paper forms will need to be submitted. The fact that the RPA has not yet processed all RLE1 forms from 2015 (for both entitlement transfers and land changes) is also likely to cause some confusion.

Entitlements and transfers

Entitlements and Land transfers effective from 1 January 2016 can be made online, or by completing RLE1 paper forms. The benefit of online transfers is that confirmation will be received immediately, and the transfers will be updated overnight on the respective claimants’ online entitlement and land schedules.

It is hoped that the ability to submit BPS claims and transfer land and entitlements will be available from March.

Overall it would seem that the online application system will have some advantages but there are a worrying number of issues to be resolved and aspects still being tested. It is unlikely that we will know how well the new system will cope until large numbers of farmers and agents login and start making applications. For 2016 we do at least have a paper-based system already in place as a contingency.

For further information contact Charlotte Gore on 01858 411218 or email here

Further information regarding rural grant funding, Leader grants and other capital grants, along with how to apply, can be found here 

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