Attack launched on delay over RPA payments

FARMING leaders in England have this week launched an unprecedented attack of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), the body responsible for dealing with farm support south of the Border, accusing it of being unable to function effectively.

A statement issued by the National Farmers' Union, the Country Landowners' Association and the Tenant Farmers' Association came after a meeting with Defra minister Lord Davies and RPA chief Tony Cooper.

It says 3,000 farmers are still without their 2009 money five months after the payment window opened. "This is unacceptable, and the RPA's stock line – we are working to finalise these as quickly as possible – dismisses the financial difficulties and distress their delay is causing.

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"For many farmers, SPS support is critical to cash flow and the viability of their businesses. We must see action from the RPA, instead of excuses based on 'entitlement correction' and 'legacy' issues.

"Partial payments must be … implemented wherever possible."