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Farm payment excuses "nonsense" - CLA

[Thursady 27 April 2006]

EXCUSES given by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for the chaos over farm support payments have been labelled as "nonsense" by the Country Land and Business Association.

RPA payment excuses branded nonsense
RPA payment excuses branded nonsense

A government select committee enquiry which has started in Whitehall to find out why tens of thousands of English farmers have not received support cheques due last year - unlike their colleagues in Scotland and Wales - has been told that the complexity of the payment system chosen for England was to blame for the delay.

But CLA president David Fursdon issued a blistering statement says that this excuse was "nonsense." He went on:

"The CLA totally rejects this. The problem is not with the system chosen, but with the implementation and management of that system."

He added: "We need to know why the RPA was overloaded and under resourced at this critical time, why a task-based system was used for processing claims, instead of a claims-based system and why Defra appeared to sit on its hands for so long?

"We look forward to giving our evidence to the Select Committee in two weeks. "

Some members of the CLA have already called for the resignation of Defra Secretary Margaret Beckett, who they accuse of being more interested in politically correct problems like global warming rather than the future of the English farming industry.

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