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Farm Bureaucracy

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to improve the speed of IACS payments; and if she will make a statement. [114270]

The Rural Payments Agency makes IACS payments and is currently engaged in a programme which will modernise IT systems and working practices to enable more efficient use of resources and reduce bureaucracy for farmers and for Government. Good progress is being made and the first stage for land based IACS schemes is due to be delivered early next year. This will result in improved payment performance.In the meantime RPA is making every effort to maintain performance on existing legacy systems. For 2002, the bulk of the Arable Area Payments and Sheep Annual Premium Payments were paid in record time. On the other hand the RPA has experienced difficulties with Bovine payments mainly as a result of complex regulatory changes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to reduce the duplication of data required from farmers for payment; and if she will make a statement. [114271]

The Rural Payments Agency which is responsible for payments to farmers, is currently engaged in a programme of developments to modernise the systems for administering payments to farmers. The first stage is due for delivery next year and the full programme will be implemented by 2005. The new e-enabled systems will include a number of features designed to reduce duplication of data collected from farmers. The programme is progressing well.