The government has simplified the way penalties are calculated for small over-claims of land as part of measures to make the Basic Payment Scheme less complicated.
The BPS encourages landowners to farm their land and rewards environmentally sustainable practice, and today's move follows measures introduced in March to reduce the paperwork required from young farmers.
According to the announcement, if the over-claim is more than 2ha or three per cent, but not more than 10 per cent of the area determined, the Rural Payments Agency will apply a penalty.
The penalty will be 0.75 times the size of the over-claim. As in previous years, for over-claims of more than 10 per cent of the area determined, the penalty will be 1.5 times the size of the over-claim.
There will be no penalty for an over-claim of no more than 2ha or three per cent of the area determined.
As trailed in March, the government has set the exchange rate to be used for BPS 2020 payments at €1 = 0.89092. Defra pointed out that this is the same as last year so that farmers will see no material difference in their BPS payments.
Farming minister Victoria Prentis said: 'This is a small change that will make a big difference to our farmers this year. I am really pleased to see this change come into effect. We will continue to work hard to make claims as straightforward as possible to ensure our farmers don’t get hit with penalties for small over-claims.'
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell added: 'I am pleased to announce that changes to the BPS over-claim penalties will come into effect for the 2020 scheme. We want to continue improving the delivery of our schemes to farmers. Changes to the way these penalties are calculated will mean farmers will feel the benefit come December when payments are made. Penalties applied for small over-claims of land will be simpler and more proportionate.'