Gildernew adds Credit Union option to new electronic payment system
Sinn Féin Farming Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has reminded farmers of the need to register for electronic payment of their grants and subsidies as soon as possible.
In early February, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development wrote to those farm businesses who had not yet signed up to have their subsidy payments paid electronically to a bank account through the BACS system. The Minister has now extended the types of account which can be used to include Credit Union accounts, to make the transition easier.
Speaking about the move to electronic payments, the Minister said:
"It is crucial that all farm businesses who have not yet provided bank account details to my Department, do so without delay. The EU requires that from October 2008 all subsidy payments can only be made electronically to a bank account through the BACS system."
Outlining progress to date on the change, the Minister continued:
"Over 87% of local farm businesses have now provided bank account details to my Department. I also would like to highlight the fact that my Department has now put arrangements in place so that farmers who do not have a bank or building society account can have their subsidy payment made to a credit union account, subject to the written approval of the relevant credit union branch.
"After 1 May 2008, no subsidy payments will issue unless the Department has been advised of either bank, building society or credit union account details. Payable orders will not be issued from this date to ensure that we are in line with the EU's October deadline. I again strongly urge those farmers who have yet to respond to the Department's letter, to do so as soon as possible."
BACS forms are available on the DARD website: www.dardni.gov.uk or alternatively may be requested 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). DARD has elected for a 1 May 2008 deadline to help smooth the transition for farm businesses to the new system.
- The Department needs to stop issuing payable orders in advance of the October date so that any Payable Orders issued are cleared by that date.
- 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.
- From 1 January 2007 payable orders issued by DARD have been endorsed "Account Payee only" and can only be lodged into the payee(s) bank account. Farm businesses have therefore required a bank/building society account to cash payable orders they currently receive.
- Credit Union accounts can be used where farmers do not have a bank or building society account. Credit Unions have limits to the amount that can be kept in individual accounts and farmers need to check these with their credit union before submitting account details.
- DARD will be migrating in November 2008 to Account NI which is the new NI Civil Service financial accounting system under the Corporate Reform Programme. It is essential to have all subsidy payable orders cashed prior to migrating to the new system.