Farmers to receive BPS 2018 bridging payments in April

This year the RPA has so far issued 98% of CS 2019 Mid Tier agreements and 95% of CS 2019 Higher Tier agreements
This year the RPA has so far issued 98% of CS 2019 Mid Tier agreements and 95% of CS 2019 Higher Tier agreements

Farmers will receive bridging payments in April for 2018 Countryside Stewardship advance or Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.

While more than 99% of BPS 2018 claims have now been processed, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said that remaining eligible claimants will receive a payment for 75% of the estimated value of their claim.

Farmers will start receiving bridging payments from Friday 12 April, which aim to help with cash flow while the remaining amount on the claim is processed.

Bridging payments will also cover unpaid 2018 Countryside Stewardship advance payments. More than 95% of these payments have been made to farmers who are delivering environmental work.

The RPA has now written to farmers to provide an update on bridging payments and on how these payments will be calculated.

RPA Chief Executive, Paul Caldwell said: “We have worked hard to improve our performance on the Basic Payment Scheme, and this year just a small number of farmers will be receiving bridging payments.



“We are also committed to driving up performance on the CS and ES schemes since taking those on in October last year.”

He added: “Our focus remains on processing the remaining claims and paying farmers as quickly as possible. I would like to thank all those involved for their continued efforts on this.”

A bridging payment is an interest-free loan to customers ahead of their full payment, providing farmers with 75% of the current estimated value of their claim.

Once the full payment has been processed and made, the amount already issued through a bridging payment will be held back.

This year the RPA has so far issued 98% of CS 2019 Mid Tier agreements and 95% of CS 2019 Higher Tier agreements.

However, farmers have highlighted their concerns over the RPA becoming 'dependent' on using bridging payments rather than fixing the root issue with payment delays.

The use of bridging payments gives the agency a ‘get out of jail free card’ in the short term, according to the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA).