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High hopes for farmers’ payment plan
2:00pm Friday 17th February 2012 in Countryfile
A rural watchdog has welcomed plans by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to create a more efficient system to ensure farmers are paid promptly and accurately.
But the Country Land and Business Association has said it is vital the agency measures its improved performance.
It believes Farming Minister Jim Paice’s support for the RPA and his commitment to improve it should help ensure the agency is in the best shape to deal with new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.
CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: “The RPA has been turned around dramatically during the past 12 months thanks to the support of Jim Paice. We are pleased the RPA is making plans now to deliver the reformed CAP but it is important the efficacy of the plan is evaluated to ensure progress is made. “The RPA’s past inability to make accurate and timely payments to farmers has cost the UK millions of pounds in European Commission fines and forced some businesses into financial hardship. Its computer system is still shockingly outdated, resulting in compounding problems year on year. This is simply not acceptable.”