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Farmers in Northern Ireland will, for the first time, receive their full Direct Payments this month, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced.

Payments will begin to issue on Friday 16 October 2020 with over 94% of payments totalling £265.7million going out on the first day. The payments will include a 4.3% linear increase on Basic Payment Entitlements.

Minister Poots said: “This has been a very challenging and difficult year for our farmers, with many experiencing significant financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic. Making full payments in October has only been possible because of Brexit and I’m committed to taking advantage of the benefits of leaving the European Union to deliver for our farmers.

"Therefore I’m pleased to announce that for the first time in Northern Ireland farmers will receive their full Direct Payments in one lump sum this year. This will be the largest pay out of Direct Payments made by DAERA on any single day.

"For the past number of years Northern Ireland has had the best payment performance in the United Kingdom. By making full payments in October we continue to be ahead of every other part of the UK and now also ahead of all EU Member States.”

The remaining applications will continue to be verified with payments being released daily thereafter.

Minister Poots added: “My officials are continuing to verify the remaining claims as a matter of urgency. In addition they have developed a new online Claim Tracking Service so farmers can track their Single Application through to payment. This is an indication of their continuing determination to assist farmers where possible.”

Payments will reach farmers’ bank accounts within five working days. Payment letters will issue by post but can also be viewed online immediately at DAERA Online Services. As full payments are being made in October there will no longer be additional part payments in December.