As of 3 March, 9,755 applicants had received some funds as a first instalment, out of an expected population of 18,137 applicants (i.e. 54% of applicants).
However, payments to these recipients amounted to £104M out of the total expected Basic and Greening payments budget of approx. £400M. So while over half of applicants have received some support, three quarters of the support has still to reach farmers and the rural economy.
Richard Lochhead has signalled in a meeting this week with the industry bodies that prior to the period of purdah ahead of the elections in May i.e. by 24 March, he would bring ideas forward for alternative options for getting basic payments out to those remaining recipients.
The government has been introducing ‘fixes’ to the IT system to deal with issues, but it seems that the simpler an applicants application the more likely they are to have got through the system. The worry therefore has to be that they have already dealt with the easiest cases and that the ones left are the more difficult and so more likely to slow them down.
The latest comments from government are included in the LFASS announcement here...