The boss of the Rural Payments Agency, which pays farmers their lifeblood subsidies, will be questioned by MPs in March.
Ahead of the hearing, farmers and landowners who have made claims under the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme are being invited to submit written evidence on the timeliness and accuracy of their payments.
Mark Grimshaw, the Agency’s chief executive, has been summoned to appear before the parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee on March 21 and the deadline for submissions of evidence is March 7.
At the start of the 2016 payment window last month, the EFRA committee vowed to hold the Agency’s feet to the fire to ensure all farmers received their payments on time.
The RPA has since announced that it surpassed its target to pay 90 per cent of farmers by the end of December, revealing that 91 per cent of claims had been settled.
When the performance update was announced ten days ago, Rishi Sunak, the Conservative MP for Richmond and a member of the EFRA committee, welcomed the news, saying: “The RPA’s recent history is littered with missed targets and deadlines so it very good news to hear that it has hit this one. The EFRA select committee had repeatedly urged the RPA’s chief to get these vital payments out promptly. We will continue to hold the agency to account to ensure farmers get their payments on time.”
The performance of the Agency remains under intense scrutiny following last year’s problems which saw thousands of farmers receive inaccurate payments and, in many cases, months late causing hardship for farmers who rely on the money to manage their cashflow.
To submit evidence about the timeliness and accuracy of 2016 BPS payments, email the committee via firstname.lastname@example.org