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"Disruption and confusion" for Yorkshire farmers

[Thursday 26 January 2006]

THE computer shambles at the Government's newly created Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is causing "disruption and confusion" for Yorkshire farmers and landowners, it was claimed yesterday.

The RPA is already a year behind in payments under the new single farm payment scheme and it was admitted at a parliamentary select committee investigation on Tuesday that many farmers will not receive their full payments next month, as promised last year.

The select committee launched a bitter attack on rural affairs Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, who changed the rules for payments to English farmers, whereas their colleagues in Scotland and Wales have already been paid by their regional assemblies.

Mrs Beckett was accused of arrogance in not realising that delays in England were driving some farmers into bankruptcy and now, the Yorkshire branch of the Country Land and Business Association has added its voice to the wave of criticism.

The CLA says that the delays are causing "disruption and confusion" as agriculture goes through one of the greatest upheavals in its history. CLA members cannot plan ahead "while the RPA flounders from pillar to post."

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