Farmers yet to submit BPS subsidy forms now in ‘last chance’ territory

Farmers have until Monday to get in their BPS forms as the deadline looms ever closer.

Farmers have until Monday to get in their BPS forms as the deadline looms ever closer. - Credit: Archant

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said it had received around 63% – or about 4,000 – of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) farm subsidy applications it was expecting for East Anglia by close of business on Monday June 8, a week before deadline.

But with the Monday, June 15, deadline for applications looming, a sizeable minority of applications was still outstanding by that point.

In Suffolk, the RPA said it had received more than 1,300, or around 65%, of the applications it was expecting and in Essex, it had 1,101, or about 70%, of the anticipated total.

Almost 60,000 completed applications were in by the start of this week, but those who had yet to submit their were being urged to do so as soon as possible.

Farmers who have not yet submitted their claim forms should take them to one of 50 drop-in centres or, if using post, use a signed-for, next-day delivery service, the RPA said.


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Opening hours at most drop-in centres have been extended including this weekend, and up to midnight on the final deadline day on Monday. Full details of locations and opening times can be found on the RPA’s interactive map on https://www.gov.uk/find-help-to-claim-rural-payments.

Farmers taking their forms direct to a drop-in centre will be offered a basic check-and-receipt service. The check will ensure applicants have included their Single Business Identifier (SBI) number, land data, filled in the active farmer section and signed the declaration. Agents with five or more claims should book an appointment via the Rural Payments helpline.

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The RPA has also set up a phone service that allows farmers who applied by post to check their claim has been received by the agency. The RPA is issuing reminder texts, letters and emails to those agents and farmers who have yet to claim, and contacting farmers when initial checks on their claims show further information is required.

The RPA’s customer director, Justin Chamberlain, said: “At this stage, farmers and agents are advised to hand in their claim form at their nearest drop-in centre or mobile support unit, rather than rely on the postal service. If you do decide to post, be sure to use a signed-for, next-day delivery service.

“If you have already posted your form to us, from this week you can now check if we have received it by using our automated service. Call our helpline on 03000 200 301 and have your SBI ready.”

Rachel Carrington, National Farmers’ Union county adviser for Suffolk, said: “We’re urging outstanding claimants to get their paperwork in to the RPA as soon as possible.

“We’ve sent out text and email reminders to members in Suffolk and Essex this week and also given guidance to farmers who attended Cereals in Lincolnshire on Wednesday and Thursday. Farmers who haven’t submitted their form yet should use one of the drop-in centres operated by the RPA or the signed-for, next day delivery postal service, as it’s important to get a receipt.”

Country Land and Business Association East regional director Ben Underwood said: “It is now ‘last chance’ territory for anyone that still wants to claim Basic Payment in England. We are encouraging members who have yet to finalise their applications to use the support that is available to make sure they do not miss out. For every day late beyond June 15 that a claim is submitted, the claimant will see a 1% penalty reduction of their payment – and after July 10 the claimant will have missed out completely.

“We are also advising our members to ensure that adequate postage is paid and posted forms are sent via recorded delivery, and to look out for their submission receipt from the RPA so that there is no nasty surprise when the payments are made.

“Our focus over the coming weeks is to continue pressing for assurance that the problems with the application process will not translate into payment delays, and to continue discussions with the banks and revenue authorities about how they will help farm businesses if delays do happen.”

Drop-in centres include the Environment Agency’s offices in Cobham Road, Ipswich and at Kelvedon, Colchester, CEFAS in Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, the RPA in Gilders Way, Norwich and APHA at Hedgerows Business Park, Chelmsford.

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