Bridging payments worth £117m arrive in farmers' bank accounts

Four percent of farmers signed up to the 2017 BPS are still without payment
Four percent of farmers signed up to the 2017 BPS are still without payment

Bridging payments worth more than £117 million have now reached the bank accounts of over 3,200 farms, the Rural Payments Agency has announced.

More than 96% of farmers in England signed up to the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) have now received their full payments.

The RPA is working to make the remaining 4% of payments. The agency says the remaining payments requires "more complex processing", and therefore take longer to complete.

It follows news of thousands of farmers still in the dark over their 2017 BPS payments, which in turn is causing ongoing cash flow pressures.

It has led the NFU to call for improved communications and efficiency from the RPA.

The NFU has said the lack of payment and communication to these farmers is causing ongoing cash flow pressures and leaves them unable to plan properly.

RPA Chief Executive Paul Caldwell admitted there is still more work to do.

“We have made solid progress in delivering payments to farmers this year, with more than 96% now paid, and I am pleased so many of this final 4% have now received their bridging payments,” Mr Caldwell said.

“As always, there is more to do, and the RPA will continue working to make the final remaining payments. But now is also the time to get online to make sure your application for 2018 is in before the deadline closes in May.”

Farming Minister George Eustice announced in January the commitment to provide a bridging payment to any farmer not paid by the end of March and highlighted how the burden of EU rules continues to be a barrier to processing some of the remaining claims.

These bridging payments are worth 75% of their full allocated amounts.