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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced that a linear increase of 4.3% will be applied to all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements in 2020 scheme year.

The Minister said: "Over time, the difference between the value of direct payments made to farmers and the budget allocation has increased due to a number of issues such as not all BPS entitlements being activated for payment. Therefore I have decided to apply an increase of 4.3% to the unit value of all BPS entitlements in 2020 scheme year.”

The Minister continued: "This increase will be worth approximately £8million in total or £330 on average per farmer. It will ensure that our expenditure on direct payments will match our budget allocation of £293million which under Treasury rules is ring fenced and can only be used for these payments.”

The Minister concluded: "I continue to be committed to supporting our agricultural sector as this increase to BPS entitlements demonstrates. I can confirm that the Department remains on track to commence full payments to farmers for the 2020 scheme year from 16 October 2020 which has become possible as a result of EU Exit.”