Single Farm Payments

Part of Agriculture and Rural Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 15 March 2011.

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Photo of Michelle Gildernew Michelle Gildernew Sinn Féin 2:15, 15 March 2011

A dedicated team works out of Orchard House and has a great deal of experience in this matter. I commend those people for the way in which they process the claims. However, the Member raises a welcome point. Mistakes can occur when the forms are completed on paper, and it can take more time to iron out those mistakes. We encourage the use of online application forms and, in fact, online application forms will be mandatory by 2015. The reason for that is that the online forms are self-correcting. If someone makes a mistake on an online application, that person is told that that is not the answer that should have been given.

We want to reduce the amount of mistakes, and we want to pay farmers. I would love to be able to pay 100% of farmers as soon as that payment window opens. The more farmers who work online, the better it will be for them, as it will reduce the number of mistakes.