Untrustworthy Truss: The dishonest cover up that left farmers owed hundreds of millions of pounds | David Hencke

The reason is her department and the Rural Payments Agency have been involved in a monumental mess over  the introduction of a new computer system to pay farmers their annual cash from the European Union.

This money is not small beer. This time last year some £1.3 BILLION was paid out to over 96,000  farmers in England and it helps keep our  food at reasonable prices in the shops.

Last week the National Audit Office revealed that the computer system set up to pay the money didn’t work properly, cost 40 per cent ( at £215m to the taxpayer) more than planned and , as a result,farmers had to revert to using paper applications.

The report even for National Audit Office terms was scathing. it revealed a total mess across Whitehall with quarrelling officials from the Cabinet Office to the Government Digital Service making a pig’s ear of the whole business.

But worse than this  the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs deliberately misled the public and the media about this state of affairs.

Last year when the first farmers received their cash under the old system, Elizabeth Truss couldn’t wait to boast, in a run up to the election, how successful the government had been in getting the money to farmers. You can read about it here.

This year this completely misleading statement was put out and Elizabeth Truss was nowhere to be seen. It boasted of  33,000 farmers receiving the cash. Last year it was 96,000. In other words it had fallen by 65 per cent – an appalling state of affairs.

To my mind the whole saga shows we are governed by a Metropolitan elite – with no press interest in the plight of anyone outside London and complete disdain for rural issues. That is why obviously Elizabeth Truss thought she could get away with no one knowing anything about this mess. And she has succeeded.

Source: Untrustworthy Truss: The dishonest cover up that left farmers owed hundreds of millions of pounds | David Hencke

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6 thoughts on “Untrustworthy Truss: The dishonest cover up that left farmers owed hundreds of millions of pounds | David Hencke

  1. Mr.Angry

    Another one who should resign, incompetence on a massive scale, most of these idiots are not fit to be in government. Trying to hide it or cover it up makes them even worse.

  2. roybeiley

    Truss one of Cameroons girlie appointments has as much street cred as IDS. Any professional IT person knows how long it takes to design, test and bed in a complex computer system. The trouble is, these politicos, like most IT clients,always want the system “up and running” in the shortest time possible. Never works that way but they do not learn from their mistakes. It would be a bit different if it were the systems which paid them and reimbursed them their “expenses” eh!

  3. Dez

    So yet another IT failure following on from many previous mega expensive fails (NHS system). This one also presumably had a fictious payback which has now been completely lost now and forever. No one will resign or lose their job over this failure and probably go on to enhance their CV with their top management of the project. I guess it’s the lack of transparency yet again ie lying that I find hard to take on board. I’m sure the farmers and investors will be soon jumping up and down which is probably why the bad news is being drip fed out in a controlled manner. The Universal Credit systems have been very quiet lately do we take silence as being indicative of another IT disaster being covertly hidden up somewhere, where the sun does not shine?

  4. fathomie

    Hmmm. The Conservatives ARE the party of the farmers. The vast majority of farm owners either are Tories, or Tory supporters. Cabinet ministers, most controversially, during the BSE crisis, are often farmers, Waldergrave and Gummer both had large Dairy and beef stocks. As such the Tories are hardly, ‘anti farming’. What they are is crassly stupid, massively incompetent, and out of their depth. This is not the first time MAFF (DEFRA) agricultural payments scheme has been made a complete mess of, it won’t be the last. The Tories introduced a new SunSparc system to the MAFF in 1993, but guess what? It crashed immediately all the sites came on line – because the govt had underfunded, wasted millions of tax payers money on ‘consultants’, and failed to trust MAFF staffs advice on what would happen. So, no change there then. The BSE crisis was one of the biggest scandals, and biggest cover ups in modern times, but hey, that’s what you get with our friends the Conservatives. However, the subsequent inquiry, under New in Labour, accepted Gummers outright lies without question, and claimed, despite the literal, concrete evidence that there wasn’t a conflict of interest.

    As for the payments scheme, the sad truth is, is that the reason for the govts slack attitude is that the vast majority of farm owners don’t, in any way, shape or form, need the cash. However, their tenants who actually work the land do – and we all know how the Tories feel about us peasants don’t we?

    One last thing, while I’m no fan of New Labour, the Foot and Mouth controversy that was laid at their door shouldn’t be. It was the Tories who privatised, split up, and made redundant four thousand staff at ADAS, not New Labour. Why is this important? Because ADAS was, and still is, the ‘man on the ground’ for DEFRA. In 1991 there were thousands of men on the ground, since privatisation in 1993 it really is a ‘man on the ground’. As such, information isn’t made available quickly, DEFRA staff take longer to find out if there’s been an outbreak (in particular if farmers try to cover it up), and as such, outbreaks were then, and will be in future, much more of a risk.

    The Tories, there isn’t anything they can’t make a mess – then lie to cover up.

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