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Anger over debt recovery letters

Farmers are receiving alarming debt recovery letters and should get advice from their agent before responding, a county rural surveyor has advised.

The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) is undertaking Post Payment Amendments (PPAs) for the 2015 and 2016 Basic Payment claims and is sending out debt recovery notices to farmers if overpayment is suspected.

“These notices are extremely alarming to receive and we are advising farmers not to respond until they have checked the figures and spoken to their agent,” said Sarah Reece, chartered surveyor at Berrys.

“The RPA is reviewing paid claims for 2015, some of which we have been asking for where we can see a claim statement is incorrect, but the RPA has also been doing its own PPAs and where they deem a farmer has been overpaid they are sending out debt recovery letters with an invoice but they aren’t sending a revised claims statement to enable the farmer to see the new calculations explaining how they got to their debt recovery decision..

"There is no timescale for payment on the invoice so farmers should take advice and not pay the invoice until they have reconciled the RPAs claims against the original claim.

“We are really angry about this as we have been asking the RPA for the last 18 months to rectify underpayments yet where they feel a claim has been overpaid they are sending out invoices straight away with no information as to why.

“It seems to be a one way street on their terms."

These amendments are on claims submitted two years ago paid out 18 months ago and claims made 12 months ago which were paid out January/February this year.



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