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COUNTRYSIDE PRODUCTIVITY SMALL GRANTS SCHEME – ROUND NOW OPEN!

Those of you with a good memory may recall that back in October 2018, I blogged on the second round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme (CPSGS). The scheme that was announced to be opening in ‘early 2019’ has now officially opened, and in this blog post, I will be providing an overview of the scheme, as well as details of the application process.

As a further reminder before I give some details on Round 2 of the CPSGS, it is worth noting the general response from Round 1, based on feedback from clients:

  • The application process was very straightforward
  • The grant proved to be very popular such that any basic/clerical errors in the application process were used as a reason for declining the application

The Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme Round 2 is open between 9 July 2019 and midday on 3 September 2019.

 Overview

The RDPE Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme:

  • provides funding for farmers (including livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural sectors) based in England to purchase equipment to improve the productivity of their farm
  • uses an online application process and is targeted at supporting investment for specific pieces of agricultural equipment (listed at Annex 3 of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme Round 2 Handbook – see below)
  • the grants are 40% of the standard costs of the equipment as listed, with the exception of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where applicants can receive up to 50% of the eligible costs

“All the items have been identified following consultation with industry groups and suppliers as helping achieve improvements in either:

  • technical efficiency
  • animal health and welfare
  • resource efficiency, or
  • nutrient management”

Annex 3 covers 20 pages of the Handbook and covers 90 different pieces of equipment (note: care required to make sure you are in an eligible sector to apply for a grant for the specific item you require – see Annex 4 of Handbook)

You cannot apply for less than £3,000, or more than £12,000 of the grant, however please note that if you were awarded and received a grant of between £9,000 and £12,000 in Round 1 of the scheme you are not eligible to apply in Round 2.

Application process

Before applying, you must ensure that you are registered in the Rural Payment Service.  It would then appear to be a simple four stage application process:

  1. Access the online portal and start your application now
  2. Fill in your application online and sign up to the terms and conditions of the scheme
  3. You will receive an email after the date that the funding round closes to let you know if your application has been approved. When you receive this email, you can purchase your items
  4. After you have purchased all your items, you can claim your money

Per the Handbook, the online application should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.

More information

The GOV.UK webpage contains some useful background information and links to further assistance and guidance including:

Next steps

As ever, I am not one to encourage expenditure for the sake of it and it is important to note that any purchase will have to be funded in full in advance of any grant being received and 60% of the costs (50% in Cornwall) will still need to be met by the farmer.

That said, if there are items of the list that would improve your business and ideally you would be purchasing in any case then this is an opportunity not to be missed.

With that in mind I would suggest that you

  1. Look to see if the equipment is listed at Annexe 3 of the Handbook; if there are pieces of equipment on the list that you would buy under the normal course of business then
  2. Read Handbook to confirm your eligibility etc.
  3. You make an application, taking care that all aspects of the application are accurate and in accordance with the guidance.
  4. I recommend that this is done as soon as possible as I suspect that this fund will once again be over-subscribed.
FEATURING: Brian Harvey
As head of PKF Francis Clark’s agricultural sector group, Brian manages a dedicated team of agricultural accountants and tax advisers. He hails from a Cornish… read more
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