Fears raised over UK Government's attitude to farmers ahead of Brexit
MPs in Westminster have warned that the Government's record on dealing with farming subsidies does not bode well for Brexit.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed concern at delays in payments to farmers and landowners.
A report into the delivery of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments, and rural development, raised fears over the Government's attitude to farmers after the UK withdraws from the EU.
The probe criticises the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) over how it has handled the Basic Payment Scheme, stating: "The department's record of failure when developing systems to support subsidy payments to farmers does not inspire confidence in its ability to cope with the challenges associated with Brexit that lie ahead."
DEFRA gives £1.8 billion a year in CAP payments to English farmers and landowners and the report warns that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is failing to deliver money on time.
PAC deputy chairman Richard Bacon said: "The recent history of the Basic Payment Scheme is a sorry affair.
"Farmers have suffered badly from the collapse in service levels and Government has done too little to help them cope with the fallout.
"At the same time, taxpayers continue to be hit in the pocket by financial penalties arising from the Government's failure to deliver the scheme properly, penalties running to more than half a billion pounds for England in the current period.