The Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland have made a startling announcement, that over €5.7m in overpayments to farmers, as reported by farminguk.com.
This was confirmed yesterday that millions of pounds worth of overpayments to farmers occurred between 2007 and 2013. They said they ‘regret’ the overpayments, made as part of the Less Favoured Compensatory Allowance scheme. This scheme is designed to support farmers, operating in tougher environments and is part of the NI Rural Development Programme.
Some farmers were in receipt of a big windfall, in excess of £10,000, though one farmer received as much as £70,000. The vast majority however, received sums of about £50. Almost 11,500 farms received money from the blunder.
The overpayments were written off as the department felt attempts to get the money back, would cost around the same amount. They put the blunder down to an IT system failure and said they were understaffed at the time to rectify the mistake themselves.
They concluded by reiterating that this mistake “won’t happen again”.