Farm payment dates - Frequently Asked Questions

Annual farm payment dates are to be brought forward to September, in an effort to support Scotland’s farmers with cash flow and the cost of living crisis.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has confirmed that, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, farmers and crofters will receive their annual advance payment for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening around a month earlier than originally planned.

Frequently asked questions

Q1. Why is there need for an advance payment in 2022?

A1. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting farmers and crofters through the difficult times. Increasing energy, fuel and fertiliser prices are impacting agricultural businesses. To help aid business cash flow we are going to use an automated function within the Rural Payments & Services (RP&S) to deliver advance payments.

Q2. What is the difference between a loan payment paid under the National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NBPSS) and a scheme advance payment?

A2. The NBPSS is a standalone support payment operated in Scotland under the Small Landholders Scotland Act 1911. Loan payments under the NBPSS are calculated on the basis of the anticipated payment due to a business in respect of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening. As these payments are not scheme payments, they can be made prior to the application verification checks being complete. Operation of the NBPSS is predominantly manual. Advance payments are a scheme payment based on fully verified scheme applications. Scheme advance payments are fully automated via the Rural Payments and Services (RP&S) system.

Q3. Why the move away from loan payments under National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NBPSS) to scheme advance payments?

A3. Loan payments carry a higher risk as they are made on the basis of unverified applications. Loans under the NBPSS are also processed manually and therefore use up a significant amount of resource to operate. As scheme advance payments are made on fully verified applications the risk of incorrect payment is minimal. Also, payments are delivered through a fully automated function with no additional resource required to deliver them.

Q4. When will I receive my scheme advance payment?

A4. The Rural Support (Simplification and Improvement) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 simplify and improve the retained EU law relating to the operation of rural support schemes to allow Scottish Ministers to begin making advance payments for direct payment schemes at a date in the calendar year earlier than 16 October. For scheme year 2022, this means advance payments will start to issue from the end of September 2022.

Q5. How many business are expected to be paid a scheme advance payment in 2022?

A5. Based on 2021 Single Application Form (SAF) processing, we anticipate advance payments could deliver around £262m (62% anticipated expenditure) to 13,500 (77%) of businesses between 19 September and 1 December 2022.

Q6. How much am I entitled to receive under advance payment?

A6. Under the advance payment process you will be paid a percentage of your calculated 2022 BPS and Greening payments. The rate is still to be agreed but expected to be at least 95% of the anticipated payment due.

Q7. Will my advance payment be reduced if I have had a previous overpayment?

A7. Yes, for some businesses a net advance payment will be reduced due to outstanding debt from previous years. More information will be available on your payment letter.

Q8. I am transferring in payment entitlements this year, will these be included in my advance payment?

A8. We are currently processing BPS payment entitlement transfer applications therefore we cannot guarantee your advance payment will include any additional entitlements transferring to you. Any new entitlements you have leased or purchased for the 2022 BPS/Greening scheme will be included in your BPS/Greening 2022 payment and, if required, a top up/balance payment will issue to you later in the payment window.

Q9. My scheme application has not been validated during the period for an advance payment. When will I receive BPS and Greening payments?

A9. Scheme payments will issue as soon as an application is fully verified. While the start date of payments may be different, the payment target remains the same, that is to pay over 70% anticipated expenditure by end December 2022 and over 95% anticipated expenditure by end February 2023.

Q10. Can I help speed up the processing of my application?

A10. In general no, however, if you are asked to supply further information or evidence to support your application you should provide it as early as possible. This will allow further processing of your application and prevent any delay to your payment issuing.

Q11. Should I contact my local RPID area office if I do not receive an advance payment?

A11. No, we are asking that farmers, crofters and/or their representatives do not contact the area offices to chase advance payments. An influx in calls/queries by individual businesses will use up resource that would otherwise be focussed on processing SAFs to payment.

Q12. What should I do if I am in financial hardship?

A12. As a first step you should speak to your bank for advice and financial assistance. If you are still in difficulty, for example, if your bank will not provide any further funding, you should contact your local RPID area office and advise them you are facing financial hardship. You will be asked to provide evidence of this. In such a circumstance, RPID would look to process your SAF to allow the scheme payment to be made, if that is not possible, exceptionally a loan offer may be made. If a loan is to be made, it will be calculated on the basis of the anticipated payment due to you in respect of BPS and Greening 2022. If that offer is accepted, a manual payment will issue immediately. The loan value will be deducted from the scheme payment when checks are complete and it becomes payable. If for any reason there is insufficient payment due to cover the loan value, you will be asked to repay the outstanding amount, that may be by way of offset from any other payment becoming due to you.

Published on: 15 June, 2022