Farmers offered bridging payment if BPS doesn't arrive by end of March

Bridging payments for Basic Payment Scheme 2017 has been confirmed by the farming minister George Eustice
Bridging payments for Basic Payment Scheme 2017 has been confirmed by the farming minister George Eustice

Farmers who haven’t received Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money by the end of March will now be offered a bridging payment of 75% in April, the government has confirmed.

More than 93% of farmers in England signed up to the 2017 BPS have now received their payment, farming minister George Eustice has said in a statement.

He said payments made to date are worth more than £1.5 billion. The 79,000 farmers who have been paid include a range of claim types and sizes including cross-border, young farmer and common land claims.

Mr Eustice said the "burden" of EU rules continues to be a "barrier" for the remaining payments.

"We have made good progress towards getting payments to farmers this year with over 93 per cent now paid and we are working hard on the final 7%," he said.

"The burden of EU rules continues to be a barrier to some of the remaining processing so we will ensure that, as we did last year, any farmer not paid by the end of March will receive a bridging Payment in April.

"As the Environment Secretary has made clear, when we leave the EU we will match the £3 billion that farmers currently receive in support from the CAP until 2022, and we intend to go on supporting farmers for years to come where the environmental benefits of that spending are clear."


The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has been urged by the National Farmers' Union to provide certainty to those farmers who are awaiting their BPS claims in the form of bridging payments.

RPA Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said: "We understand how important BPS payments are to farmers and their businesses.

"That’s why RPA staff have worked really hard to get money into bank accounts in the first month of the payment window, injecting just over £1.45 billion into the farming and wider rural economy. I’m very grateful to them for all their work so far.

"We know there are still farmers waiting for payments and will make them as soon as we can."

CLA Director of External of Affairs Shane Brennan said bridging payments are "not preferable to getting a full payment in a timely manner".

However, he said: “But they are essential for farm businesses who are still waiting for 2017 BPS and make a major difference to cash flow.

“That is why we have been calling on Government to take this step in recent weeks. We are grateful that the Minister has listened and particularly that this will be a feature of the system not just this year, but for the next two years.”