Single Applicaion success raises hopes of prompt Scottish payment

A highly successful campaign encouraging Scotland’s farmers and crofters to meet the May 15 Single Application deadline should smooth the way for prompt payments later this year.

The decision to stick to the May 15 SAF deadline in Scotland rather than opting to delay because of concerns over the impact of Covid-19 on the application process was backed by NFU Scotland.

Working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders, 19,487 forms were submitted by the deadline.

The number of forms completed online increased by 2% to more than 18,000 – approximately 92% of all applications – with only 8% received in paper form.

The ability to apply by paper is coming to an end and all applications will be required to be completed online by 2022.

NFU Scotland is reminding those who met the May 15 deadline this year that changes to the forms can be made without penalty up until Monday, June 1, 2020.

Northern Ireland was the only other part of the UK to stick to the May 15 deadline. The region’s Minister of Agriculture Minister Poots said he hoped to be able to make full payments in October, ahead of other European countries.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed that 24,494 Single Applications were received by the deadline on May 15, 2020 – up 64 on 2019.

NFUS director of policy Jonnie Hall said: “It took a concerted, collective effort, but sticking to the deadline and ensuring that claimants had all the support and information needed to complete their forms on time has been rewarded by the uptake.

“The help and assistance offered by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division area offices and helplines this year was exceptional, and a crucial factor in getting so many applications over the line.

“By sticking to the May 15 deadline, SGRPID now has the best opportunity to complete processing and make these payments in a timely manner.”