The stink isn't from the farmyard
THE senior civil servant who was removed from office seven months ago for the bungling of £1.5 billion in “green” payments to farmers is still on the government payroll, earning £114,000 a year.
While more than 3,000 farmers are still waiting for last year’s cash for looking after the landscape, Johnston McNeill, former chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency, even received a bonus of £21,062 for overseeing the new cash system after the Common Agricultural Policy was reformed...
Mr McNeill’s tenure at the agency resulted in such financial and bureaucratic chaos that costs for the farm cash scheme may end up almost five times over budget.
The original estimate of £75.8 million has been revised to a total cost of £258.3 million, without including fines imposed by Brussels for failing to pay 116,000 farmers in England by the end of June this year.
The salary arrangements for Mr McNeill are criticised as unsatisfactory by Phil Gibby, a director at the NAO, who said: “Allowing someone to remain on full pay for so long does not represent value for money.”
The sums are particularly galling for farmers who have already been told that there will be problems in payments for this year, normally due in December, and that it could take at least 18 months before computer systems are operating properly....
As the BBC points out:
BBC NEWS | UK | Mistakes 'cost UK farmers £22.5m' and that is only in direct costs, and doesn't include lost opportunity costs, and those lost opportunities are the reason why this fiasco has driven some farmers to bankruptcy and despair.