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The RPA – waste of space (and money)

Date Published: 16/07/2008

It probably comes as no surprise that potloads of cash have been washed down the drain by the Rural Payments Agency as it tries to deal with the Single Payment Scheme.

Figures are being bandied around now because of the scrutiny of the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. This process has highlighted the fact that farmers are still suffering from the failure of the payments to be properly administered.

Some of the figures are downright depressing: nearly 20,000 entitlements assessed wrongly for the 2005 and 2006 schemes; around £37million in overpayments in those two years, with many farmers still unaware if they were overpaid (and many of those who are aware apparently don’t yet know by how much they were overpaid and when they’ll have to give it back).

On top of this there is likely to be a substantial fine from the EU for the failures. I’m sure I read something yesterday that said the cost of making single payments amounted, in many cases, to about the same as the value of the actual payment. If I can find that piece again, I’ll post the link.

It beggars belief.