Farmers who don’t have access to reliable broadband will be given extra help to apply for EU farm payments.
From next year, the Government will only be accepting applications for the basic payment scheme online. Farmers will also need to access the internet to use the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) information service.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has posted out a special “request for help” form to claimants who haven’t applied online before, which must be completed and returned to the RPA by Tuesday, October 14.
CLA director south east Robin Edwards said: “As part of its agenda to go digital by default, the Government will only be accepting online Basic Payment Scheme requests from next year.
“For the Buckinghamshire farmers and landowners living and working in parts of the county where they are still unable to access a reliable broadband connection, it is especially important to prepare in advance. I urge those who would like extra help to apply online to contact the RPA by the deadline of October 14 so they don’t miss out on the help on offer to secure vital future payments.”
The CLA has been lobbying for improved broadband in rural areas for a number of years and is calling on Government to speed up delivery of fast and reliable broadband service to the homes and businesses in poorly-served parts of the countryside.
Mr Edwards added: “Far too many rural communities in Buckinghamshire and across the country are still in the digital slow lane. It is only through providing an effective and affordable broadband connection that individuals will be able to access the array of new services available online and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field with their urban-based competitors.”