This week, we learnt that one in five English farmers has received a letter from the Rural Payments Agency, demanding a total of £37 million that it overpaid in 2005 and 2006.
The agency now admits that it miscalculated 10,000 payments totalling £20 million in 2005 and a further 7,000 valued at £17 million in 2006. The overpayments in the current round range from £300 to £15,000.
Many of the farmers involved did not know they had been overpaid and the agency – quite unjustly – refuses to tell them why its former calculations were wrong.
We\’re going to claw back the money but we\’re not going to tell you how we\’ve calculated it?
Given that the decision to claw back is an admission that they get the calculations wrong, how can anyone have confidence in this set of claculations?