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ChamberSign, the digital certificate service from British Chambers of Commerce, is gearing up today (Monday) to meet new demand from England's farmers as they switch to claiming EU subsidies on line.

Faced with either detailed paperwork to complete or a fully guided interactive e-form, farmers are expected to opt for the electronic version. It is available now from the Rural Payments Agency under the Integrated Administration and Control System 2002 - eIACS for short - and follows encouraging initial experience last year.

Once completed, electronic claim forms are submitted via the Government Gateway, the UK Government's Internet portal for an expanding range of business services. To gain access farmers need a free-of-charge digital certificate. ChamberSign is one of two authorised certificate issuers and is the only one to offer direct face-to-face support throughout the UK.

"We think farmers and their agents switching to electronic claims will appreciate the hand holding they can get by simply walking through the door at their nearest designated Chamber of Commerce," says the British Chambers of Commerce's Commercial Director, Kathy Riley. "They can also be secure in the knowledge that ChamberSign certificates carry the extra credibility of face-to-face accreditation."

ChamberSign digital certificates are easily installed on a user's PC. They work seamlessly with existing software like MS Outlook, MS Exchange and Internet Explorer, adding a robust layer of security and assurance.

In addition to eIACS submissions, ChamberSign certificates are used by businesses making electronic VAT returns and taking advantage of the e-Cert on-line export documentation application. The ChamberSign software also lets users electronically sign any computer-originated information, from simple e-mails and documents through to complex instructions and contracts. At the same time it can encrypt files - whether stored locally or in transit - guarding them against unauthorised viewing or alteration.

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