National Farmers' Union (NFU) vice president Tom Bradshaw has responded to the update from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on this year’s Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.

He said:

It is excellent that more than 95% of farmers have received their BPS payment on the first day of the payment window.

"This year has been one of the most challenging for farmers up and down the country and I would like to congratulate the RPA on getting these much-needed payments out the door.

"It’s also very encouraging that the first Countryside Stewardship scheme payments have been made, as well as payments for those in Environmental Stewardship HLS agreements.

This is another example of the RPA demonstrating improved delivery performance, which will continue to be critical as we head towards the introduction of new schemes during the agricultural transition period.

"Of course, we must not lose sight of the 5% who have yet to receive their payment for BPS and the substantial amount of agri-environment payments RPA still needs to deliver.

"I would urge the RPA to ensure those claimants are kept informed of progress so they can manage their cash-flow appropriately and see these payments made in a timely manner," he concluded.

£1.6 billion in BPS payments made

More than 95% of farmers received their 2020 BPS money in the first day of the payment window for recipients of the scheme, according to figures released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Approximately £1.671 billion was paid to farmers for BPS on the first day of the payment window, which runs from December to June, a further improvement on 2019 where £1.192 billion was released.

In addition, eligible farmers were issued Countryside Stewardship (CS) revenue payments totalling £40 million and Environmental Stewardship (ES) payments totalling £60 million are expected within the first few days of the window.

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Those who claimed CS and ES agreements in 2020 will receive one full payment this year as part of a wider plan to deliver a better service to farmers and land managers.

This is the first year that these payments have been funded directly by the UK government rather than by the EU.