The Agriculture (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2021

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
CitationSI 2021/405

2021 No. 405

Agriculture, England

The Agriculture (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2021

Made 25th March 2021

Coming into force 26th March 2021

The Secretary of State makes these Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 2(8), 3(1) and (2) and 50(3) of the Agriculture Act 20201.

In accordance with section 50(6) of that Act, a draft of the instrument was laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

1 Introduction

Part 1

Introduction

S-1 Citation and commencement

Citation and commencement

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Agriculture (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2021 and come into force on the day after the day on which they are made.

S-2 Interpretation

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

the 2020 Act” means the Agriculture Act 2020;

“agreement holder” means a person who has entered into an agreement with the Secretary of State for financial assistance under the CS scheme, the environmental land management pilot scheme, the farming investment fund scheme or the tree health pilot scheme in accordance with scheme guidance, including their representative in the event of incapacity or death2;

“applicant” means a person who applies to the Secretary of State for financial assistance;

“authorised person” means a person authorised by the Secretary of State to carry out inspections and exercise powers of entry under these Regulations for enforcement purposes;

“CS scheme” means the scheme known as the “countryside stewardship scheme” pursuant to which the Secretary of State gives financial assistance under section 1(1) of the 2020 Act;

“eligibility criteria” means the criteria specified in scheme guidance to determine the receipt of financial assistance, including any criteria allowing for selection of applicants on a competitive basis;

“environmental land management pilot scheme” means the scheme known as “the environmental land management national pilot scheme” pursuant to which the Secretary of State gives financial assistance under section 1(1) of the 2020 Act;

“farming investment fund scheme” means the scheme comprising elements known as “the farming equipment and technology fund” and “the farming transformation fund” pursuant to which the Secretary of State gives financial assistance under section 1(2) of the 2020 Act;

“scheme guidance” means the forms, guidance, manuals and handbooks issued by the Secretary of State in relation to the financial assistance scheme in question3;

“tree health pilot scheme” means the scheme known as “the tree health pilot scheme” pursuant to which the Secretary of State gives financial assistance under section 1(1) of the 2020 Act.

(2) Where a provision in these Regulations is silent as to which financial assistance scheme it applies to, the provision applies to the—

(a)

(a) CS scheme;

(b)

(b) environmental land management pilot scheme;

(c)

(c) farming investment fund scheme; and

(d)

(d) tree health pilot scheme.

2 Assessing applications for financial assistance

Part 2

Assessing applications for financial assistance

S-3 Checking eligibility for financial assistance

Checking eligibility for financial assistance

3. Where an applicant applies to the Secretary of State for financial assistance under the CS scheme, the environmental land management pilot scheme, the farming investment fund scheme or the tree health pilot scheme, the Secretary of State must check the information provided by the applicant to ensure the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the financial assistance scheme to which the applicant is applying.

S-4 Information in support of eligibility for financial assistance

Information in support of eligibility for financial assistance

4.—(1) The Secretary of State may require the applicant to provide additional information, including evidence, in support of their application.

(2) Where the Secretary of State has requested information or evidence under paragraph (1), the applicant must provide that information or evidence within any deadlines specified by the Secretary of State.

S-5 Defects in an application for financial assistance

Defects in an application for financial assistance

5. Where an applicant has submitted an incomplete application or the application contains an obvious error, the Secretary of State must notify the applicant of the defect and permit the applicant to correct the defect within any deadlines specified by the Secretary of State.

S-6 Consequences of incomplete or erroneous applications

Consequences of incomplete or erroneous applications

6.—(1) The Secretary of State must not give financial assistance under a financial assistance scheme if, having considered the information in an application, together with any supporting information or evidence required under regulation 4, the Secretary of State is satisfied that—

(a)

(a) the applicant has not met the eligibility criteria for receipt of financial assistance;

(b)

(b) the applicant has failed to provide information or evidence requested under regulation 4;

(c)

(c) the applicant has failed to correct a defect in accordance with regulation 5; or

(d)

(d) there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the applicant has provided false or misleading information.

(2) Where the Secretary of State decides not to give financial assistance under a financial assistance scheme, the Secretary of State must—

(a)

(a) notify the applicant, within a reasonable period, of that decision and the reasons for the decision; and

(b)

(b) inform the applicant of the right to request a reconsideration under regulation 30.

3 Payments of financial assistance, monitoring and record keeping

Part 3

Payments of financial assistance, monitoring and record keeping

S-7 Payments under the environmental land management pilot scheme

Payments under the environmental land management pilot scheme

7.—(1) Where an agreement holder has incurred capital expenditure and submitted a request for payment under the environmental land management pilot scheme, the Secretary of State may require the agreement holder to provide additional information or evidence in support of that payment request.

(2) Where the Secretary of State has requested information or evidence under paragraph (1), the agreement holder must provide that information or evidence within any deadlines specified by the Secretary of State.

(3) Where the agreement holder has not provided the information or evidence requested under paragraph (1), the Secretary of State may withhold financial assistance until such time as the Secretary of State is in receipt of that information or evidence.

(4) Any payments made by the Secretary of State must be to a verified bank or building society account of the agreement holder.

(5) The agreement holder must notify the Secretary of State, without delay, of any anticipated or actual changes to that person’s bank or building society account.

(6) Where the Secretary of State receives a notification under paragraph (5), the Secretary of State may withhold payments until such time as the Secretary of State is satisfied that the changes have been checked and verified.

(7) Where an agreement holder is awarded financial assistance under the environmental land management pilot scheme, that person must submit an annual declaration to the Secretary of State confirming compliance with the conditions subject to which that financial assistance is given.

S-8 Payments under the CS scheme, the farming investment fund scheme and the tree health pilot scheme

Payments under the CS scheme, the farming investment fund scheme and the tree health pilot scheme

8.—(1) Where an agreement holder has submitted a request for payment under the CS scheme, the farming investment fund scheme or the tree health pilot scheme, the Secretary of State may require the agreement holder to provide additional information or evidence in support of that payment.

(2) Where the Secretary of State has requested information or evidence under paragraph (1), the agreement holder must provide that information or evidence within any deadlines specified by the Secretary of State.

(3) Where the agreement holder has not provided the information or evidence requested under paragraph (1), the Secretary of State may withhold financial assistance until such time as the Secretary of State is in receipt of that information or evidence.

(4) Any payments made by the Secretary of State must be to a verified bank or building society account of the agreement holder.

(5) The agreement holder must notify the Secretary of State, without delay, of any anticipated or actual changes to that person’s bank or building society account.

(6) Where the Secretary of State receives a notification under paragraph (5), the Secretary of State may withhold payments until such time as the Secretary of State is satisfied that the changes have been checked and verified.

S-9 Checking and monitoring

Checking and monitoring

9. An agreement holder must supply, in such manner and at such times as the Secretary of State may specify, such information or evidence as the Secretary of State may require for the purposes of—

(a) checking whether the eligibility criteria for receipt of financial assistance continue to be met;

(b) verifying compliance with conditions subject to which financial assistance is given;

(c) monitoring the extent to which the purpose of financial assistance has been, or will be, achieved; and

(d) reviewing or evaluating—

(i) any of the activities carried out by the agreement holder under the financial assistance scheme; and

(ii) the success of the financial assistance scheme as a whole.

S-10 Record keeping

Record keeping

10. Where an agreement holder is required to keep records in accordance with their agreement, that person must provide copies to the Secretary of State in such manner and at such times as the Secretary of State may specify.

4 Change of circumstances and transfer of agreements

Part 4

Change...

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