The Rural Payments Agency has announced a package of measures to help farmers get online for the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) including the launch of regional digital support centres offering appointments for one-to-one sessions for those most in need.
Farmers applying in 2015 for the new BPS, which replaces the current Single Payment Scheme (SPS), will need to use the new Common Agricultural Policy Information Service – an online system which is designed to be as simple, affordable and effective as possible.
Letters will go out to 13,000 carefully selected customers whom RPA research has shown are most likely to be in need of help to get online. The aim is to find out what stops them getting online and what help they may require to use the new online service.
RPA Chief Executive Mark Grimshaw said:
“I know from talking to farmers, local MPs and industry experts that some farmers, especially those living in remote rural communities, have concerns about getting online to make BPS applications either through lack of technical know-how or inability to access the internet.
“We want to reassure them that the RPA has carefully thought through, practical and effective solutions to overcoming these barriers to going online. We are in an excellent position to lead this drive towards digital with a track record of encouraging take-up of online applications for SPS. This year more than 70,000 people applied online – up 27 per cent on 2013. That’s more than two thirds of all applications.”
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