Beckett must go
BBC NEWS | Politics | 'Costly' delays for farm subsidy
Farming subsidy changes were made by the EU last year
The government's delays in implementing a new scheme of European farm payments could end up costing the taxpayer at least £20 million, the Tories say.
Conservative agriculture spokesman Jim Paice said this was unacceptable as the government had been told last year that the system was heading for disaster.
Under EU rules, member countries must have made payments to farmers by the end of June, or face heavy fines.
..Farmers' leaders say the delays and mistakes in the way the system has been implemented in Britain are a "tragedy" and could lead to some bankruptcies.
Mr Paice said that even if Britain manages to pay the subsidies by the end of July, it is still facing a fine of £20m.
Two points - it is only the ENGLISH farmers who are missing their payments not Britain or the UK as the BBC and Conservatives say, but then "England" is nearly a banned word in politics now - the Welsh, Scots and NI farmers have all been paid on time because they were given a different system.
And Beckett should go - now she says:
Responding to criticism that her failings were causing farm businesses to go bankrupt, Mrs Beckett said farmers should not have set a date for receiving their payments.
"No farm business could ever have said with confidence that it would receive its payment before the end of the payment window, which is the end of June," she said.
At the launch of Defra's sustainable strategy for the food industry on Wednesday, she dismissed concerns about farms going bankrupt as a result of late SPS payments.
Compare that with this Defra Press release dated 31st January 2006:
English farmers will start receiving full payments in February under the Single Payment Scheme, Farming Minister Lord Bach confirmed today.
A total of £1.6 billion will be paid directly into farmers' and growers' bank accounts or by payable order, starting at the end of February and with the bulk complete in March. All payments will be well within the window set by EU legislation which runs until 30th June 2006.
Lord Bach said: “I am very pleased to confirm what we said more than a year ago – that full payments will begin in February. I hope this announcement will provide some reassurance to the farming industry.
The Rural Payments Agency will now press ahead to definitively establish entitlements on February 14th. Farmers will be informed of their individual details within two weeks of that date.
Farmers know nothing is certain in life but that sort of announcement gave a "reasonable expectation" of what was going to happen - and it hasn't - I'm still waiting for my entitlements statement and there is no sign of the cash either. I kept my side of the bargain, the Governement hasn't kept its side, and its failure is going to cost not just farmers dear but also the taxpayer.