Payments agency 'delaying subsidies'

UK - Yorkshire farmer blasts 'mindless bureaucracy'- A Farmer has accused the Government of using "mindless bureaucracy" to delay crucial subsidy payments.
calendar icon 8 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

George Thompson says he was faced with a 200-page document when making his first claim under the Single Farm Payment scheme last year and he only completed it with help of his son-in-law.
The 70-year-old also had difficulty filling out this year's 25-page version – and says it provoked laughter and incredulity when he showed it to French farmers.
Mr Thompson, who has a smallholding in Flamborough, east Yorkshire, and another in Sharante, near Bordeaux, said French farmers had only to complete a four-page questionnaire – and faced no delays in payments.
He said: "I would not have been able to complete the first one on my own and when I took it to France they laughed me out of town. They showed me theirs, which is only four pages long, and said they had got their money straight away.
"As far as I'm concerned, the Rural Payments Agency is deliberately creating extra work to keep themselves in a job and make life difficult for farmers.
"They are robbing the farmers to meet their own budgets. It's unbelievable."
Asked how he had managed this year's paperwork, he replied "with difficulty".
He said: "I was tearing my hair out. If the French government can do it in four pages, why can't we?"
British farmers have faced huge delays in receiving their subsidies since a new payments system was launched last year. Many in this region are facing a winter of hardship because of the Government's mishandling of the scheme.
Their frustration was compounded by the news that Ireland and France had already begun making next year's payments available – while thousands of British farmers were still waiting to receive cheques for 2005.
The Yorkshire Post is calling for the Government to settle the crisis by guaranteeing that all farmers receive money for next year by December 25.
It is backing the Conservative Party's Make Them Pay By Christmas Day campaign, which is supported by the National Farmers Union, the Tenant Farmers Association and the Country and Land Business Association.

Source: yorkshiretoday.co.uk

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