Vickers and Barrass is a firm of Rural Chartered Surveyors offering a professional land agency service throughout the North East of England.
The business was established by Harry Vickers in 1973 and in September 2012 it was acquired by Darlington Farmers Auction Mart Limited to expand their range of services. TH Vickers Limited trading as Vickers and Barrass is now fronted and managed by Adam Barrass BSC (Honours in REALM, MRICS, FAAV) and Harry Vickers (BSC FRICS) who continues to work as a consultant.

LATEST NEWS

LEADER SCHEME

The LEADER Scheme is a part of the Rural Development Programme for (RPDE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund which for Rural Development (EAFRD). Under LEADER, Local Action Groups (LAGs) can allocate funding to local businesses and organisations to help carrying projects which help create jobs in the rural area.

Money is awarded to LAG which can be given to local businesses and organisations that apply for it. The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) manages the LEADER scheme nationally and will make the payments to successful applicants.

Applications can be made by private, public businesses or voluntary organisations such as:

  • Farmers
  • Growers
  • Foresters
  • Other rural businesses
  • Someone wanting to start a business

Grants are available for a range of activities which support at least one of the six LEADER priorities.

  • Support to increase farm productivity
  • Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
  • Support for rural tourism
  • Provisions of rural services
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity

Follow the links for more information on support to increase farm productivity.

LEADER Equipment for Farm Productivity

MAGIC Postcode Checker UG

NPD Handbook FINAL

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PAYMENTS

Natural England’s payment window is between 31 December 2015 and 30 June 2016 for the environmental stewardship scheme. Claimants should be aware of potential tax issues when gaining payments this is due to payments falling in different tax years or two payments into one tax year.

2016 BPS UPDATES

From February the land viewer for the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme should be available to view digital maps and aerial photography of clients' land online. Unlike in 2015 land cannot be edited and a RLE1 must still be completed however land can now be transferred online. Maps can be printed for the farmer’s use however this system is only able to print one map at a time instead of large parts of the farm steading on one map. At the current time, the RPA will not post or email out full sets of maps as the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS, formerly the RLR) is being updated in readiness for the Land Viewer being made available.

2015 BPS UPDATES

The RPA have made a further 3,472 payments to claimants making a total 61,172 payments (over 70%) on 27 January 2016. The total value of payments made now stands at over £845 million out of an estimated total fund of £1.43 billion (this was £779 million as at 19th January 2016).

The RPA is also now aware of several instances where it seems either an under or over payment has been made for BPS 2015. As claim statements are being sent out more cases of this nature will undoubtedly emerge. Everyone is asked to check any claim statement they receive to ensure they have received the correct payment.

BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME: WHAT IS HAPPENING OVER THE NEXT THREE MONTHS?

The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) has received over 88,000 applications for the new Basic Payment Scheme this year. Since all the applications were submitted the RPA have been contacting anyone who they needed additional information from which were missing from their original records. They have also been adding the information from the application forms into their computer system called “Rural Payments”.

So what is next?

October 2015

In October the RPA have been working on land and entitlement transfers. They have been contacting anyone who has sent a RLE1 form to let parties know if their transfers are completed and the person they have transferred too.

November 2015

The RPA will announce the payment rates for the Basic Payment Scheme (entitlement values and the greening payment rate) and the young farmer payment. As mentioned a few weeks ago the exchange rate was set at €1 = £0.73129; all those who applied for entitlements from the National Reserve as new entrants will be contacted to tell them whether their application has been successful.

December 2015

Payments will start from the 1 December. The aim for the RPA is to make the majority of the payments by 31 December. Once the payment has been completed a Remittance Advice which will show the amount paid will be sent. If a payment is not going to be made until before the end of January 2016, the RPA will contact the individual explaining why the payment has not been made and an estimate to when it should be completed by.

January 2016

The vast majority of payments should be made by 31 January, if not the RPA will remain in contact with the individuals informed to when they should be paid. After the Remittance Advice a Claim Statement will be sent. The Claim Statement will show how the RPA have work out the payment and give details of any reductions or penalties applied.

Avoiding fraud

In the past, banks have warned that fraudsters- pretending to be from their bank’s fraud department may try and target farmers who receive subsidy payments. The same fraudulent activity could take place this year, so be aware- particularly as December approaches and payments start.

Remember:

·         The bank will never ask you for your full online password

 

·         Your bank will not ask you to make a payment over the phone using your online account. 

AGRI ENVIRONMENT PAYMENT SHOULD START NEXT WEEK

Payments of ELS/HLS/OELS/UELS should be starting to reach some client’s bank accounts over the next few weeks but due to the high level of claims Natural England have to process they have until 31 December to make all payments.  In a recent press release they have said “Natural England do expect to keep their commitment to make all payments by the end of December”

If you are at the end of an ELS or UELS agreement you will not receive the normal half yearly payment. To complicate matters you will receive half of the half yearly payment and then the remainder has to be paid to you by end June 2016.  For example if your annual payment was £1,000 the half yearly payment would be £500.  By end of December you will receive £250 and a further £250 by June 2016.

Please note that once Natural England have approved your claim it can take up to 10 working days for the Rural Payments Agency to release your payment.

BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME: NEW GREENING RULES FOR 2016

As Harvest once again comes to an end, many arable farmers are currently deciding which crops to sow for next year. The Rural Payment Agency has published the new greening rule guidance for 2016 which explains in great details the correct measures to take when planning for the 2016 Harvest.

Please follow the link to new guidance: Basic Payment Scheme England: The greening rules 2016

SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2015

From the 1st October 2015 changes are being made regarding the instalment of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 states it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that every floor wholly or partly lived in must be fitted with a working smoke alarm and every room which contains a solid fuel burner (open fire) must be fitted with a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure all the alarms are working effectively throughout the tenancy and on the day a new tenancy begins; this includes the fitting, repairing and checking of all prescribed alarms.

ELS/HLS PAYMENTS DELAYED

With the extension to the dates for the submission of the Basic Payment Scheme and Environment Stewardship claim forms earlier this year and IT issues with the Rural Payments Agency,  Natural England have issued a statement regarding the ELS/HLS payments.

Natural England have said “The European Commission have made the decision  to give all Member States extra time for farmers to submit their claims in the first year of the new CAP.  Advance payments for ES agreements were expected to be paid from October 2015 and the majority paid by November and December.  The Rural Payments Agency & Natural England are working to ensure that agri-environment payments under Environmental Stewardship agreements are made as early as possible”

As a requirement of the EU regulations payments cannot be made until cross checks with the Basic Payment Scheme data has been completed.  As a result from the extension to application dates for BPS and ES claim forms this has had a knock on effect delaying the cross checks and ultimately the payments.

Various organisations are pressing the RPA and Natural England to make payments on time this year particularly given the current commodity prices. 

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