Rural Payments Agency returns to paper forms

The government announces that it is altering its approach to rural payments; having begun introducing a new IT system, the Rural Payments Agency will revert to a paper-based payment system.

The £154 million IT system was designed to support the subsidy payments from the European Union, but has encountered significant “performance problems” and will now move back to using paper forms.

With the IT system suffering problems and the deadline approaching for farmers to claim their Basic Payment Scheme subsidy the government decided to introduce an alternative method of claiming.

RPA Chief Executive, Mark Grimshaw said that claimants would now be “using tried-and-tested RPA forms.”

He explained, “having listened to feedback, the RPA will now combine existing forms that farming businesses are used to, with data that the Rural Payments system already has.

This will mean that everyone who is registered and wants to complete a 2015 Basic Payment Scheme claim can do so.”

Farmers will still have to register online before they can claim using the paper system, the government has said that around 80% of users have successfully registered using the system.

Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) chief executive George Dunn said that TFA members “have been expressing frustration, annoyance and anger over the faltering, stuttering and incomprehensible IT system.”

He added, “despite the continuing assurances that the system would be fit for purpose, there has quite clearly been significant doubts within the RPA for a long time.”

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