The 2015 Basic Payment window came to a final close on the 10 July, which will be a great relief for everyone, especially the RPA. It was reported that the RPA had received more than 88,000 applications, of which around 700 were received after the initial 15 June deadline. Across all offices, Brown & Co assisted in claiming 200,000 hectares, which was 1.4% of the total claims made in England.
The next hurdle for the RPA is processing and validation, it has been reported that inspections have taken place and the RPA are pushing to meet their 5% requirement.
Over the last few years of the Single Payment Scheme, most payments have been made in the first week of December. Even though there has been no confirmed payment date this year, the RPA have said they will try and issue payments in January; the repercussions of this along with general Agricultural economics could dramatically affect cash flow going forward. We would recommend that the effects of payments not arriving until spring 2016 are considered when farmers prepare their forward budgets.
Overall, the roll out of the new scheme has been a backward step, the move to paper, potential delayed payments and slowly delivered, inconclusive and contradictory guidance have caused a lot of headaches. It feels as though there is a long way to go with this system before it is in a functional state, we could be faced with another year similar to this before they have anything with the capacity to cope with the volume of claims made.
For those concerned about the updated Cross Compliance regulations or the suitability of the Ecological Focus Area options they have taken, Brown & Co’s Cross Compliance, Greening and Stewardship audit service may be worth considering. Contact your usual Brown & Co advisor for more information.