Around £2 billion in EU funding is received by 100,000 farmers and growers in the UK each year, mainly under the Single Payment Scheme. As is well known, this has been replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme but it seems that there could be delays again in making payments. These are usually made at the beginning of December, but the “payment window” will remain open until June next year.
Late payments could cause problems for many farmers, so Lloyds Bank has launched a £500 million fund to help their farming customers. Those who are recipients of Basic Payment will be entitled to request support from this fund. All facilities set up for farmers to access the fund will be free of any arrangement fees, but the money will be offered on a commercial basis, with interest charged on any sums borrowed.
In addition, for any farmers who have elected to receive their payment in Euros, Lloyds will extend the window from three to six months during which they can protect (“hedge”) the foreign exchange rate.
NFU President, Meurig Raymond, said: “We welcome this announcement from Lloyds Bank that it recognises the potential delays farmers may face in receiving their farm support payments”.