Basic payments on schedule

Most farmers eligible for handouts from this year’s Government basic payment scheme have now been paid, according to the Rural Payments Agency.

That adds up to almost £425m reaching the bank accounts of 44,400 farmers, almost 51 per cent of claimants.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “I can confirm the agency has met its commitment to pay the majority of eligible claims in December and remains on track to pay the vast majority of claims by the end of January.

“We understand the importance of these payments to our hard-working farmers, and the agency will continue to work flat out to ensure it meets its commitment to pay the remaining claims as quickly as possible.”

The agency says it will warn claimants unlikely to be paid by the end of the month.