Doubt still surrounds payments for
Yorkshire Dales farmers
DESPITE assurances that "most" farmers and landowners will receive their support payments by March, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) yesterday demanded that "all efforts" should be made for swift payment to those missed out.
Payments from the newly created Rural Payments Agency are already running a year late because of computer problems, but on Monday Agriculture Minister Lord Bach promised that "most" claims would be met by March.
In response, Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North said yesterday; "Of course it is good news that many farmers and landowners now have a date by which they should have their money, but the CLA and other organisations should not have needed to lobby as vigorously as we did.
However, it seems that not all farmers will receive their payment by the end of March".
Adding; "Those who do not will still be facing cash flow problems in their business at a time when demands for inputs such as feed and fertilizer are at their highest. Their neighbours being paid will be of no benefit to them, and all efforts must be made to ensure that they too receive their payments".
Meanwhile, another spanner has been thrown into the farm support machinery after the small print was finally read concerning the agreements made last year when Tony Blair agreed to hand-back Britain's EU rebate at a cost of billions of pounds.
Legal experts in Brussels are saying that, under the terms of the new agreement, support payments for environmentally sensitive farm improvements - a key plank of Labour policy since it was elected - will have to be cut by 40%.