The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed the proportion of applications made online before the 16 May deadline for the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) reached record levels.
Over 80% of applications were made online using the Rural Payments service. With more than 85,500 submitted in total by the deadline, RPA is urging anyone still planning to claim, to do as soon as possible and before midnight on 10 June.
Farmers who may have an outstanding query, or are waiting for the balance of their 2015 payment can apply and should do so as soon as they can using the latest information they have available. Claims submitted during the penalty period after the 16 May deadline will incur a 1% penalty for each working day they are late so getting them in quickly is important.
Applicants can still make certain amendments until midnight on 31 May without being penalised and RPA has produced a new video available on its YouTube channel, to help them. Some changes can still be made after this date and up to 10 June but may be liable to a penalty.
Chief Executive of the RPA Mark Grimshaw said:
It is great news that the 2016 BPS has received the highest proportion of claims submitted online in any one year. We expect BPS 2016 to be easier for farmers and it has already got off to a good start.
I urge anyone still considering making a claim to go online and do it as quickly as possible so you don’t miss out.
Detailed support available until 10 June 2016
Online support centres
Until 10 June, five online support centres across England are open to support farmers - located in Reading, Newcastle, Workington, Carlisle and Exeter. Check online at www.gov.uk/guidance/bps-2016 for full opening hours of your local centre.
Rural Services helpline
The Rural Services helpline 03000 200 301 is open weekdays between 8.30am to 5pm for help and advice.
Videos and on screen help
A range of helpful videos and documents designed to make the application process as easy as possible can be found on GOV.UK.
There’s also a new video available to help applicants make certain amendments until midnight on 31 May without being penalised on the RPA YouTube channel. Other videos include advice on changing land use and a general overview of how to apply online. To make the online process easy to follow, step by step onscreen help is available throughout the application process and this useful guidance can also be printed off.
‘Hints and Tips’ document
RPA has taken the questions farmers and agents have asked as they applied for their 2016 BPS, and turned them into a helpful Hints and Tips document available at gov.uk/rpa/bps2016.