NFU urges ministers to postpone farm payment reductions, as new schemes hit with delays
8th Sep 2023 / By Alistair Driver
The NFU is calling on ministers to postpone reductions to farm payments, totalling more than £700 million, until problems rolling out new environmental farm schemes are resolved.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) should have been up and running to deliver payments by December, but delays in the roll-out of the new scheme mean most farmers are still unable to access it, the NFU said, it pointed out.
This coincides with major reductions in farm payments, totalling £720m this year, under the old scheme which SFI was meant to replace, leaving farmers facing a 'double whammy' in the run-up to Christmas. And with the scheme delayed, a lot of on-farm environmental work it is designed to pay for cannot begin, it added.
Therefore, the NFU is calling on ministers to halt any further reduction in existing farm payments until delivery problems with SFI are resolved.