15TH MARCH – UK 2017 BPS ENTITLEMENT UPDATE
1. England – transferring entitlements online – not yet secure
2. UK Entitlements Market
3. UK BPS Entitlements – User Guide
1. England – transferring entitlements online – not yet secure
We have found serious problems with the online entitlements screen and automated entitlement transfer process, which the RPA are saying people can rely on this year in respect to what they see on screen, and also, once an application has been made online, with the automated confirmation of transfer messages being recieved from the RPA (which are coming extremely quickly after the application is submitted).
What you see onscreen
We have had cases where entitlements have been shown to be “clawed back” to the national reserve where the RPA are saying that the amount clawed back may vary from what is showing on the online entitlements screen. We are aware that 2015 entitlement corrections are still being carried out, especially relating to the New Forest and commons land, with entitlements being reallocated, whether because there were errors in 2015 in respect to BPS claims, or in respect to the New Forest where additional land has been recently mapped and included in the historic eligible area available. In most cases, we are informed, entitlement corrections, which apply to non-commons land as well, will involve farmers receiving more entitlements than are currently showing in their entitlements screen on their online business details. However in some cases the number showing may be reduced. The Entitlement Correction process will be running with no set date by which we know it will be completed in England. Subequently it appears that what we see on screen cannot be 100% relied upon as yet.
In another case, an entitlement transfer application was submitted and the written confirmation message came through confirming the transfer had been successfully transferred. However by chance we were in contact with the RPA on another issue, and they confirmed that on their system the transferee was not an active farmer (as they were claiming the Basic Payment for the first time) and therefore as far as they were concerned the transfer had not been completed, as the entitlements would not move to the transferee until the active farmer declaration was completed or a BPS claim was submitted by them, even though the written confirmation of this transfer had been sent out under the automated message system being used this year. Prior to this we were informed that if there were any queries with any applications for transfers, the automated system would raise a “flag” at their end whereby these would be have to dealt with manually, and the transfer would show in the “Pending Entitlements Transfer” screen and not in the Transfer in & out screen. In this case this did not happen, and therefore raises a query as to whether the system is operationally competent. Of course this year is the first time they have used the automated system for confirmations,which are coming out in most cases within two hours of the application being made. Last year each application had to be manually checked, which is why there were many weeks of delay before the written confirmation came through.
Whilst these concerns have been brought to the attention of the RPA, we have not received any response to date.
As a result, we have put on hold completing on entitlement transfers for the time being, as it is clear that the written confirmation of transfer messages cannot yet be relied upon. We have to advise all other agents and farmers involved in such transfers to also adopt a similar position until the RPA clarify that we should proceed, relying on the written confirmations and most importantly confirming that the RPA will compensate individuals where the transfer has not taken place as indicated.
The RPA have altered their telephone system last year so that all their land line numbers have changed and are directed through a central system, making it more difficult to deal with such queries without the type of access we have.
2. UK Entitlements markets
These are all now becoming more active, with some prices firming.
3 UK BPS Entitlements – User Guide
“Whether you are a practicing farmer, an accountant, a rural surveyor, a student, a land agent – or even an agricultural journalist – this book will become an invaluable tool for understanding the intricacies of agricultural support in the UK.”
Philip Clarke, Executive Editor, Farmers Weekly
“Townsend Chartered Surveyor’s expertise in this complex area is well-respected and this new, much needed, publication will become a ‘bible’ for all practitioners dealing with entitlements, the support system and the Rural Payments Agency. As the UK’s largest multi-professional organisation devoted to the law and business of the countryside, the Agricultural Law Association is pleased to endorse this book.”
M R Holland MRICS, Agricultural Law Association
“Entitlements to the CAP’s Single and now Basic Payments were created under EU law as another novel asset offering income but with a thicket of rules – and traps. In this guide, Hugh Townsend offers the experience of his specialist practice in handling these varied issues as found in each of the four parts of the UK.”
Jeremy Moody, CAAV Secretary & Adviser
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UK 2016 Market Report; UK BPS Regional Comparison Fact Sheet; How to authorise us as your agent online; Current entitlements available; Current entitlements wanted; Summer 2016 newsletter; Christmas 2016 newsletter; Desktop English BPS payment card 2016, How to order UK BPS Entitlements – User Guide; January – UK 2017 BPS Entitlement Update; March 2017 BPS Entitlement Update