Farmers owed support money to be paid bridging payments from Friday

Bridging payments worth 75 per cent of support payment claim values will be paid to farmers awaiting outstanding monies under the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme and Countryside Stewardship Scheme from Friday. Picture by James Hardisty.
Bridging payments worth 75 per cent of support payment claim values will be paid to farmers awaiting outstanding monies under the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme and Countryside Stewardship Scheme from Friday. Picture by James Hardisty.
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Interest-free loans will be paid to farmers who have been made to wait for lifeblood farm support payments from Friday, the Government has confirmed.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) announced that the loans will only be paid to a small number of farmers this year because 99 per cent of 2018 Basic Payment Scheme monies have been paid out and 95 per cent of 2018 Countryside Stewardship payments have also been processed.

The loans - or bridging payments - are worth 75 per cent of the estimated value of the payment claims under the two schemes and are being used as in previous years to mitigate slow administration.

The RPA said it had written directly to farmers to provide an update on bridging payments and how they are being calculated.

Paul Caldwell, the agency's chief executive, said: "We have worked hard to improve our performance on the Basic Payment Scheme, and this year just a small number of farmers will be receiving bridging payments.

"We are also committed to driving up performance on the Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship schemes since taking those on in October last year."

Previous, it was another government agency, Natural England, that administered the two stewardship schemes.

Mr Caldwell added: "Our focus remains on processing the remaining claims and paying farmers as quickly as possible. I would like to thank all those involved for their continued efforts on this.”

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