The CLA is urging farmers and landowners in south east England who have a slow or unreliable internet connection, or who are not yet online, to act now to avoid missing out on EU farm payments.
To apply for the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015 and use the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) information service, farmers will need to be able to go online.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has posted out a special “request for help” form to claimants who haven’t applied online before, which must be completed and returned to the RPA by Tuesday 14 October.
CLA Director South East Robin Edwards said: “As part of its agenda to go digital by default, the Government will only be accepting online Basic Payment Scheme requests from next year.
“For farmers and landowners living and working in parts of the south east where they are still unable to access a reliable broadband connection, it is especially important to prepare in advance. I urge those who would like extra help to apply online to contact the RPA by the deadline of 14 October so they don’t miss out on the help on offer to secure vital future payments.”
The CLA has been lobbying for improved broadband in rural areas for a number of years and is calling on Government to speed up delivery of fast and reliable broadband service to the homes and businesses in poorly-served parts of the countryside.
Mr Edwards added: “Far too many rural communities in the south east and across the country are still in the digital slow lane. It is only through providing an effective and affordable broadband connection that individuals will be able to access the array of new services available online and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field with their urban-based competitors.”
For more on the support from the Rural Payments Agency, click here.