Committee raise concerns over high volume of late payments
10 September 2018
The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to the agriculture Minister to ask why over half of payments under a European support scheme are made late.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) finances rural development programmes across the EU. The European Commission is bringing in a new Regulation that will mean if a Member State is late in more than five per cent of payments to recipients of the Fund, the Member State will have the money they receive from the EU reduced.
As part of their scrutiny of this Regulation, the Sub-Committee asked Defra Minister George Eustice MP how many of their payments to recipients under this scheme are currently made late. His response showed that over half (55.5 per cent) were made after the deadline in the 2017 claim year which, if the new Regulation were in force today, would result in a £70-75m penalty.
Lord Teverson, Chair of the Sub-Committee, explained:
“Given the large number of payments being made after the deadline, the Committee have written back to the Minister to ask for an explanation of why the figure is so high and what action the Government is taking to speed up these payments. We have also asked for clarity on the extent of late payments in the different nations of the UK, and how any future financial penalty for late payments that came from the EU would be distributed amongst the four nations.”
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