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Wrong advice leads to £45k pay out for farmer

A young farmer has now received the £45k he was denied by the Rural Payments Agency, following a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigation.

Farmer

The farmer, in his 20s, from Herefordshire had been complaining to the Rural Payments Agency for three years in order to receive the money he believed that he was entitled to under the European Union's Single Payment Scheme, an income support for farmers.

The farmer tried to have his entitlements - without which you cannot claim the subsidy - put into his name, as they were previously under his grandparent's name.

When his farm secretary called up the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to make the change, there was a problem with the computer system and she was told not to send the form which would put the entitlements in his name. This advice was wrong and as a result the farmer missed the deadline for claiming.

The farm secretary called the RPA, before the deadline, to check several times if the computer problem was fixed. The computer problem wasn't fixed and she was never asked to send in the form, meaning the deadline was missed.

Following an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, he has now received a £45,377.30 payment by the RPA equivalent to the subsidy he would have received, plus £1,468.71 interest and an additional £1,000 for the poor service he received from the RPA.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:

'This case highlights the importance of complaining. This young farmer had been farming for two years when he suddenly lost his expected income despite taking what he considered to be all the necessary steps to ensure he would receive this subsidy.

'He went through three years of complaining, causing him distress and financial hardship, which meant that he struggled to pay his rent.

'Our investigation resulted in the farmer being given more than £45k by the RPA, which he should have received but was previously denied to him because of a failure to put right a mistake.'

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is independent and impartially investigates complaints from individuals about UK government departments, and other public organisations, and the NHS in England. It carries out adjudications making final decisions on people's complaints. The Ombudsman Service investigates 4,000 cases a year and upholds around 42 per cent.

Land agent John Amos, based in Herefordshire, who complained to the Ombudsman Service on behalf of the young farmer, said:

'My client was delighted with the outcome.

'Throughout the process, the Ombudsman Service was remarkably helpful in keeping us up to date with regular phone calls. This process was extremely user friendly, helpful and produced a fair outcome.

'The service from start to finish was first class. It is extremely important that this service exists as a last resort for this type of case.

'I would recommend this service to anyone in a similar position without hesitation.'

Notes to editors

  1. The Rural Payments Agency is a paying agency for the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
  2. For more information please contact press officer Marina Soteriou on 0300 061 4996 or email marina.soteriou@ombudsman.org.uk

Contact: Marina Soteriou

Phone: 0300 061 4996

 

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