On the 19th January 2016 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked Her Majesty’s Government “what percentage of the Basic Payment Scheme was paid to farmers by the end of December 2015, and what assessment they have made of the delivery mechanisms of that funding”. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked for assurances that payments would be made promptly and in full.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I speak as one who, until very recently, has been privileged to serve as a trustee of the Farming Community Network, which supports many farmers with difficulties of this sort. Is the Minister aware, as FCN certainly is, that many of those who have been told they will not receive their payments until after the end of this month—more than two months late—are farming in upland areas, not just common grazing, and are often the poorest farmers in the most need? Is it possible for at least some payment to be made on account? Can the Government assure noble Lords that payments will be made on time, and in full, in the next cycle?
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, there are regular discussions with, for instance, the banks and with HMRC about those farmers who will be in difficulties. I endorse what the right reverend Prelate has said: many charitable organisations work with the Government and we wish to support them as much as possible. I believe that next year the lessons will be learnt from what has happened this year. I very much hope that the RPA will have considerable success in 2016.