English farmers will start receiving full payments in February
under the Single Payment Scheme, Farming Minister Lord Bach confirmed
A total of £1.6 billion will be paid directly
into farmers' and growers' bank accounts or by payable order,
starting at the end of February and with the bulk complete in
March. All payments will be well within the window set by EU
legislation which runs until 30th June 2006.
Lord Bach said: “I am very pleased to confirm what we
said more than a year ago - that full payments will begin
in February. I hope this announcement will provide some reassurance
to the farming industry.
“Staff at the Rural Payments Agency have worked extremely
hard to make this possible and I am most grateful to them. I
also want to acknowledge the co-operation and patience of everyone
who has made a claim.
“The start of these payments signals a milestone in the
development of a modern farming industry in this country, one
which is no longer driven by subsidies. This new single payment
scheme, a key part of the 2003 reforms of the Common Agricultural
Policy, rolls 11 old schemes into one.
“It encourages farmers to be more innovative in responding
to consumer demand while setting new standards of sustainable
agriculture and environmental protection.”
The Rural Payments Agency will now press ahead to definitively
establish entitlements on February 14th. Farmers will be informed
of their individual details within two weeks of that date.
Johnston McNeill, Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency,
said: “Our staff have shown dedication and a lot of hard
work in recent months to deliver these payments and it is a great
credit to them.
“Making full payments from February will also deliver
major benefits for the future. Claimants will be able to trade
their definitively-established entitlements and their SPS forms
for 2006 will be pre-printed with their key data so that the
next application will be simpler to complete.”
1. More than 120,000 claims for the Single Payment Scheme were
received by the Rural Payments Agency. The scheme replaces the
previous system of 11 separate subsidy payments.
2. The RPA is on track to establish definitive entitlements
by 14 February, and send entitlement statements out to farmers,
enabling trading and transfers of entitlements in advance of
the 2006 scheme year.
3. A service to deal with SPS payment and entitlement enquiries
at the RPA's Customer Service Centre (CSC) will be available
from 6 March. Prior to that date, CSC will prioritise queries
to help complete outstanding validations, therefore customers
are asked to only contact CSC before 6 March if they have been
asked to do so by the RPA in order to resolve a query or if they
wish to obtain a form to transfer entitlements.
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