FARMERS have been advised to urgently review their Basic Payment Scheme documents to make sure entitlements have been claimed correctly.

This was the message from Charles Raine, director at Hexham-based land agency YoungsRPS, in response to the news of a internal review of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on unused entitlements held by claimants, which will lead to the reconciling of any incorrect claims.

Mr Raine warned that this meant any entitlements that had not been used in line with the regulations for all scheme years back to 2015 could be recovered to the National Reserve.

“This news will come as a shock to BPS claimants as the RPA will be going back five years to check if entitlements have been claimed correctly,” he said. “This means that payments could be adjusted and reduced for future years. Considering that the future of funding in our industry is facing much uncertainty, setbacks such as this could be detrimental to businesses.”

Mr Raine said that the confusion arose because prior to 2015 unused entitlements were carried over and used the following year. However, since 2015, entitlements have had a ‘use by’ date, and if not claimed, they should have been automatically surrendered.

“Those that were not aware of these changes and have been receiving incorrect payments, are likely to see adjustments for a number of years,” he said.

“In my opinion, those that will be affected the most are those who have bought or sold land with entitlements that have not been used or those that have had land used by utility companies.”