Farm payment delays 'damaging'

THE Environment Secretary David Miliband today admitted to MPs that the Government's delay in paying subsidies to farmers had been “very damaging.”He conceded: “I have been the first to say this has been a very, very damaging episode and I have also been the first to say we are not going to get out of it in one leap.

By Graham Dines

THE Environment Secretary David Miliband today admitted to MPs that the Government's delay in paying subsidies to farmers had been “very damaging.”

He conceded: “I have been the first to say this has been a very, very damaging episode and I have also been the first to say we are not going to get out of it in one leap.”

With 99% of 2005 claims now paid, Mr Miliband announced: “Where full payments are not possible, partial payments for the 2006 scheme to eligible claimants with claims over 1000 euros should begin in mid-February.'


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Conservative MP Laurence Robertson said farmers in his constituency were still owed thousands of pounds' by the Rural Payments Agencu. “It's bad enough that 2005 payments were so badly late in being paid. I've still got thousands of pounds owing to farmers in my constituency, farmers who have made environmental improvements in order to qualify for payments.'

Mr Miliband replied “The most important thing you can say to your constituents is that the new Chief Executive of the RPA is getting a grip on the organisation and is determined to put it on track.”

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