The Basic Payment Scheme and its new online system
The Basic Payment Scheme will be administered through a new online system created by the RPA. The web-based system will be compulsory for all applicants and will allow claimants to submit annual claims, map land, alter personal and business details and transfer entitlements.
The new system is being tested by a small number of farmers and agents, with a view to it being rolled out in mid-October/November. The RPA will issue registration packs to claimants in autumn 2014 and is urging farmers to register and start using the system soon after its launch. The RPA has also indicated it will set up 10 help centres across the country to allow farmers without broadband to access the new system.
However, we are already listening to the South West farming community about their concerns over these planned changes. The new CAP Information Service, Greening and Ecological Focus Area rules in reality mean many farmers are being faced with more red tape and administrative burdens than ever before.
Bruton Knowles has launched a new service providing support to farmers completing their Basic Payment Schemes, so please get in touch with me if you would like to learn more about this service.
Rent reviews – not just about the review
With rent reviews still outstanding for many landlords and tenants, negotiations now have to be settled as Michaelmas approaches.
From experience these negotiations are not always about the final rent figure, they can often be a good chance to discuss other matters concerning the holding, from property maintenance and drainage issues through to succession and tax planning.
Landlord-tenant relationships vary hugely but more often than not there will be matters that come up during the negotiations that can have a potentially greater impact on the business than the review figure itself.
For example, a forward-thinking Agricultural Holdings Act tenant with the next generation keen to take on the farm might be willing to discuss potential projects that would make the farm more viable and the rent review process can often be the catalyst for change.
Under their existing agreement, they may not be able to achieve what is planned; however, under a long-term FBT, perhaps with an AHA-type rent review formula, they may be able to release the potential needed to allow the next generation to take the holding forward. Both parties could benefit greatly from such an arrangement, which could reduce Inheritance Tax liabilities to the landlord, as well as improving the asset value and at the same time increasing the income potential for the tenant.
Conolly McCausland is a senior rural property consultant at Bruton Knowles. Call him on 01823 332205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org