With less than a week to apply for the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is reminding farmers who may still want to claim that the final deadline of midnight on 10 June is fast approaching.
Applicants are being encouraged to submit their BPS claim as soon as possible as a 1% penalty applies for every working day it is received after the initial 16 May deadline. For those applying for new entitlements from the national reserve, the penalty rate is 3%.
A range of support is still available in person and by telephone until 5pm, and online until midnight, on final deadline day.
This support includes:
- A dedicated Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301, open from 8.30am to 5pm
- Online support centres in Reading, Newcastle, Workington, Carlisle and Exeter open from 9am to 5pm. (Arrive by 4pm if visiting without an appointment)
- Support is also available, by appointment, at RPA’s Foss House office in York between 8.30am and 5pm
- A range of guidance videos on the RPA YouTube channel includes ‘Hints and Tips’, advice on changing land use and a general overview of how to apply online
- Step-by-step onscreen help is available throughout the application process and this useful guidance can also be printed off
- A useful ‘Hints and Tips’ document is also available at GOV.UK/rpa/bps2016.
After midnight on 10 June applications will not be accepted, except for exceptional circumstances. Claimants can find further information online at GOV.UK/rpa/bps2016 in the BPS 2016 scheme rules (page 109).
Online applicants can easily check their claim has been received by clicking on the ‘Apply for BPS’ screen on the Rural Payments service. Receipts are also being sent out for applications submitted by paper.
Farmers can notify the RPA of errors in their application without penalty at any time provided RPA has not already told them about it or they have had notice of an inspection. Claimants can find further information online at GOV.UK/rpa/bps2016 in the BPS 2016 scheme rules (page 7).
Planned 2015 BPS reconciliation process
The new Rural Payments service has been designed to increase the accuracy of payments by automatically carrying out more in-depth checks than the previous system. By making use of satellite data, aerial photography and digital maps, we are now able to check the land being claimed under BPS matches the information held on the system.
Where there is discrepancy between a claim and the information held by Rural Payments, only the amount of the claim that matches is paid out.
Rural Payments also differs from its predecessor, the Single Payment Scheme with new requirements such as greening. That is why, this year, some farmers may see differences in their payments from last year.
The Rural Payments Agency will investigate all claim queries through a planned payment reconciliation process once the 2016 application window closes.
Farmers who believe their payment is not correct should write into the agency so it can investigate, make any necessary adjustments and top up payments, rather than clawing back from farmers at a later date, as used to be the process.
The planned reconciliation process will involve looking at individual applications and investigating any differences in land and entitlements held.
This process begins in June and will last a number of months.