Cumbrian firm H&H Land & Estates has welcomed news that farmers are set to see a slight increase in their Basic Payments this year following the decision not to make the usual financial discipline deduction for 2020.
The Rural Payments Agency has moved to halt the deduction, which has been previously used to support an EU crisis fund.
Although the 1.371 per cent deduction has usually been refunded the following year, H&H Land & Estates suggests it is much better for farmers that it not be made in the first place.
In addition, the BPS rates have been increased slightly by between 38p and 53p per hectare.
With the payment window opening in December, David Morley, head of conservation and environment at H&H Land & Estates, said: “This is great news for farmers. Even if only a slight increase, in times like these every penny counts.
“This also seems to be the first sign coming in from central government that we are getting closer to our future post-Brexit reality, and is a change that will reach farmers on the ground across our region.”
He added: “We have already seen the decision made to remove the greening obligations from the 2021 scheme year.
“We are told to expect further details from Defra this month on the proposed Environmental Land Management Scheme. When the long promised further detail lands, we will be looking to update all our clients as soon as possible.
“We submitted one per cent of all the UK’s combined Countryside Stewardship Scheme applications in 2020 and claimed BPS for clients over hundreds and thousands of acres, so it’s very important for our clients that the Government get this transition right.”
Both the RPA and H&H Land & Estates have emphasised the need for farmers to be vigilant against fraudsters who can impersonate government or banking officials. Neither will ask farmers to reveal their online details or passwords, or make a payment over the phone.