The total budget for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in NI will be cut by around £25m next year, a senior DAERA official has confirmed.

Norman Fulton said that while the exact figures are still to be finalised, it is likely to mean the value of all BPS entitlements drops by 8% to 8.5%.

The money is needed to fund a new headage payment for beef cattle that is due to be rolled out next year, although the first payments will not made until 2025.

Budget issues

DAERA initially announced that no changes to BPS payments would happen in 2024. However, Fulton said “budget management issues” have arisen which require earlier than planned payment cuts.

The problem stems from UK Treasury rules which do not allow money to be moved across different financial years.

It means the first year of the new Beef Carbon Reduction Scheme must be funded from the 2024 BPS budget, not the 2025 budget as originally planned.