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Gildernew calls for farmers to sign up for electronic payment of subsidy

5 February, 2008


Sinn Féin Farm Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has reminded farmers of the need to become compliant with the Banker's Automated Clearing System (BACS) as quickly as possible.

The Minister said:

"It is crucial that all farm businesses, who have not yet provided bank account details to the Department, do so as soon as possible, as the European Commission requires that from October 2008, all subsidy payments can only be made electronically to a bank account through the BACS system."

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is writing to those farm businesses who have not yet signed up to have their subsidy payments paid electronically to a UK bank account through the BACS system.

The Minister continued:

"To help smooth the transition to this new system for farm businesses, I have decided that it is important that we have BACS arrangements in place well in advance of their 2008 Single Payment. After consulting with my officials, I now propose to put back the previously announced date of 1 March 2008 to 1 May 2008. This will ensure that the remaining 2007 Single Farm Payment authorised for payments from mid February onwards and 2008 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances Scheme payments due to issue in March will not be delayed for those who are not yet BACS compliant. After 1 May 2008 no subsidy payments will issue unless the Department has been advised of bank account details. I therefore strongly urge those farmers to respond to the Department's letter as soon as possible."

BACS forms are available on the DARD website: www.dardni.gov.uk or alternatively by telephoning Orchard House on (028) 7129 9074.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

From 16 October 2008 all subsidy payments issued by DARD as an Accreditated Paying Agency must be paid by Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS). To date some 8000 farm businesses (20%) have yet to sign up to payment by BACS. Of these some 4000 are LFACA applicants (circa 30% of all LFACA applications).

BACS is an electronic system that provides a quick, secure and efficient method of making payments directly to a Bank or Building Society account. Farm businesses will receive cleared funds directly into their bank account within 3 banking days of payment issuing from DARD. BACS is already mandatory for Euro payments.

Forms are available from: Grants and Subsidies Payments Branch, Systems Management Section, Room 9, Orchard House, 40 Foyle Street, Derry, BT48 6AT.

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