Press Release Conservatives
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17th October 2006
Embargoed until 00:01 Wednesday 18th October
Commenting on the NAO report on the delays in administering the Single Payment Scheme, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Jim Paice MP said:
This report is damning confirmation of the Governments disastrous administration of the Single Payment Scheme which has plunged thousands of farmers into serious financial uncertainty. As the NAO identifies, the failure to make payments on time has not only cost farmers but also the taxpayer, who will ultimately foot the bill for the Governments incompetence.
Although the NAO recognises the RPA failed to appreciate the complexities of the system, these stemmed from original decisions by Ministers who cannot escape their share of the blame.
The reports conclusion that problems with the Single Payment Scheme were not picked up early enough for corrective action to be taken is astonishing considering the repeated warnings given by the Conservatives and farming groups about the gravity of the situation.
While it comes as no great surprise that there is little prospect of the problems being remedied in time to deal with the 2006 claims, it is vital that the Government makes an early decision on interim payments in order to avoid the kind of anxiety and stress that farmers have recently been forced to endure.