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SFP delays costly for farmers

by 5m Editor
28 January 2005, at 12:00am

UK - Farmers in England will have to pay interest charges of more than £20m if their single farm payment cheques are not paid until Feb 2006, DEFRA has been warned. The Rural Payments Agency announced last week that Feb 2006 was the earliest date payments were likely to start, even though the payment window opens on Dec 1, 2005. The farming industry is concerned that this will leave farmers with massive cash flow problems and producers will have to extend borrowings. Jonathan Armitage, consultant with Strutt & Parker, said producers were expecting over £2bn in support so the cost to industry would be about £7m a month in interest payments. NFU president Tim Bennett said for some individuals a three-month delay in payments could threaten the future of their businesses. England's producers would also be at a competitive disadvantage if countries like France got payments out in December, he warned. "If the rest of Europe gets systems in place so they can get cash flow into farming, then it will be bad for British agriculture," he said. If the trade knows that people need to sell wheat or animals because they need cash it could also affect price.

5m Editor