Changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) penalty calculations have been announced by the government in an attempt to make the claims less complicated for farmers.
The penalty calculations have been simplified with effect from the 2020 scheme year, meaning that farmers will not face penalties for small BPS over-claims (less than 2 hectares / 3% of the area determined). For over-claims of more than 2 hectares / 3% of the area determined, the penalty will depend on whether the over-claim was up to or over 10% of the area determined.
This simplification comes at a good time for many, in light of the uncertainties they face as the Agriculture Bill makes its way through Parliament. Many await details on the phasing out of the current BPS system, and the move towards ELMS and the provision of "public money for public goods".
Farmers will benefit from simpler and more proportionate penalties for small over-claims of land under the Basic Payment Scheme in England.