The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) have announced a one-month extension for farmers and landowners to apply for vital Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) funding as well as to make a claim for existing Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) funding due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak; allowing them to make a submission without being penalised for a late application.
The BPS deadline, usually 15th May each year, is a fundamental date in the farming calendar. Many farmers rely on these payments to meet their ongoing running costs year on year. In some cases, due to the introduction of social distancing measures, farmers have faced obstacles when communicating with their agents in regard to their BPS applications and CSS claims. We know that BPS is set to be phased out from 2021-2027, making it more important than ever to submit a thorough application on time.
Commenting on the deadline extension, Tom Oates, Director at youngsRPS said: “The impending and fast approaching phased removal of BPS and reduction of other financial aid has been at the forefront of our minds for some time now; our message to our clients over the past few years has been to take advantage of these schemes whilst they are still around. The lockdown has undoubtedly caused communication issues between farmers and their agents, creating obstacles surrounding their funding applications as well as other rural matters. It would be damaging to the industry if farmers missed out on the opportunity to claim financial aid due to the outbreak. We have been very lucky at youngsRPS as we have the technology and communication infrastructure in place to continue work for our clients without interruption, ensuring that our clients are prepared for the 15th May BPS deadline.”
Farmers now have until 15th June 2020 to submit BPS applications and Stewardship claims to the RPA. The period for amending claims without penalty has also been extended to 30 June 2020. It is though worth noting that existing deadlines for High Tier and Mid Tier Stewardship applications remain the same being the 1st of May and the 31st of July 2020 respectively, although these are understood to be under review and we will be monitoring this.
Tom continued: “Despite the extension, I must urge farmers and landowners not to delay their applications and claims; as always, it is vital that you are prepared. As a firm we have very much been working as normal within the parameters of government advice, however for anyone who as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and/or other pressures is having trouble with their submissions then the extensions will be welcome news. If we can be of any assistance in meeting the deadline then please do get in touch.”
To get in touch with touch with Tom, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01665 606800.