The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed that farmers will start receiving bridging payments from Friday 12 April which will cover Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018 claims and Countryside Stewardship (CS) 2018 advance payments. To date, the RPA has processed 99% of BPS claims and 95% of CS payments for 2018.
CLA Chief Land Use Policy Adviser Susan Twining said: “While many farmers will be pleased to see a marked improvement on last year’s performance and relieved to hear that payment is on its way, we should be wary of normalising them – bridging payments should never be preferable to a full payment in a timely manner.
“As well as the additional administrative burden for all involved, bridging payments adds stress and worries for farmers already facing significant uncertainties with regards to the future. This is, no doubt, exacerbated by the fiasco last year which has seriously eroded trust in the scheme. For these reasons we believe that if they have to be used, then they should be triggered in January, limiting uncertainty and enabling the RPA and others to work towards a common sense target.”