After pressure from the NFU to provide clarity to the applicants of the oversubscribed Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme, Defra has announced that there will be an extension of the 150 day grant claiming period for certain equipment.
Many of the applicants, who had a 150 calendar day period to purchase equipment and submit a claim for payment, have faced complications in receiving the funding due to equipment availability issues1 and subsequent delivery falling outside of the 150 days.
The NFU has been in constant contact with Defra to find a solution, and they have now committed to:
· Ensuring that farmers who purchased their equipment and submitted their claims within the 150 day deadline can take delivery of their equipment and receive payments after the 150 day period
· Opening a second round of funding, due to open in the Autumn, giving those farmers who withdrew their application another chance to apply. The RPA will be contacting grant recipients who have an offer for livestock handling equipment but have withdrawn, to inform them of this option.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “Defra’s announcement that improvements have been made to the Countryside Productivity Scheme is very welcome and we hope that these will provide a practical solution to the issue of supply availability.
“The scheme is clearly very popular and these amendments should ensure it does not become a victim of its own success.
“However, going forward it is important that productivity schemes are based on what is deliverable within time frames that are practical and the NFU looks forward to the opportunity of working with Defra on the design of future schemes.”