UFU welcomes advance CAP payments and urges progress on outstanding claims

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed advance CAP payments, describing them as a "big relief" for farmers

THE Ulster Farmers' Union has welcomed advance CAP payments, describing them as a "big relief" for many farmers facing cash flow problems.

The UFU said officials at DAERA deserve credit for getting 94 per cent of farmers paid within two weeks of the date for payments allowed by Brussels.

“We are frequently, and rightly, critical of DAERA – but over this I have no hesitation in saying this is a job well done across the whole department,” UFU president, Barclay Bell said.

“The fact that Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK in a position to make early payments reflects a real effort over a number of years by DAERA and farmers to get the system working well. This was made possible by getting claims online, and then by a big drive by officials to process claims quickly,” he said.

The UFU said the initial payment of over £180 million will be a big financial boost for farmers, but also for the rural towns and villages across Northern Ireland where money will be spent by farming families finally enjoying a financial breathing space.

“This is particularly important this year, given that prolonged wet weather will dramatically increase winter feed bills and other costs. We are particularly pleased to see that those who live in the areas affected by the floods received payment,” Mr Bell said.

He added that the UFU was aware a significant number of farmers had not received advance payments and were having their claims queried for various reasons.

“We now need to see DAERA applying the same zeal to sorting out these outstanding claims as it has demonstrated over getting early payments into farmers' hands so quickly. Ensuring these farmers receive payments in full at the beginning of December, along with the balance for everyone else who has already received an advanced payment."

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