The leaders of the CLA, NFU and TFA have reacted with extreme disappointment to news that the RPA will not achieve the target of paying 95 percent of 2010 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims by value by 31 March - the estimated figure will be nearer to 90 percent.
Defra Minister Jim Paice made the statement to the House of Commons on Friday (4 March) after hearing earlier in the week about mounting concerns from industry over the delivery of the SPS, especially the progress of historic issues and 2010 payments.
CLA President William Worsley said: "We are all extremely disappointed that the RPA will yet again fail to meet its targets. Naturally we appreciate that the Minister has taken over an appalling situation that is not of his making but it is not of farmers' making either and is wholly unreasonable that they should be expected to put up with any more of this.
"The news today makes it apparent to all of us that no tangible progress is being made. Meanwhile significant numbers of farmers continue to suffer considerable levels of frustration and hardship.
"We therefore call upon the Minister to do what he can to ease the situation and make payments of at least part of what is due to each 2010 claimant."
NFU President Peter Kendall said: "We have been here too many times before. This is the sixth year of the scheme and we should be past this sort of news. But it has become very apparent that there is still no real progress. Therefore, we have asked the Minister to call for all those due a 2010 SPS payment to receive a partial payment as soon as possible to help minimise the serious difficulties that have resulted in the failure to make payments to date.
"We obviously appreciate the desirability of full payments, avoiding EU penalties, and the need to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money. But we have now reached the stage at which doing so is having a disproportionate effect on farmers – time is running out for many."
The Tenant Farmers Association National Chairman, Greg Bliss, said: "The current situation for tenant farmers who have not received their Single Payment Scheme is dire. Most tenant farmers will have presumed upon receiving payments by March when they were preparing their cash flows last year.
"With rent cheques due to be paid this month on top of all the other farming costs normally faced at this time of year we need action from the Government to get manual or at least partial payments out now."