RPA pays out majority of Single Payments
THE vast majority of farmers in England have already received their Single Payments, just two days into the payment window.
The Rural Payments Agency announced today (Wednesday, December 2) that 86,500 English farmers have been paid a total of £1.31 billion.
This represents just over 70 per cent of the estimated total fund value of £1.86bn and 80 per cent of the total estimated claimant number of 107,500 farmers.
It also represents a huge improvement on the previous years’ performance for the under-fire agency. Last year, around 21,000 farmers had been paid just over £700 million by December 16.
RPA chief executive Tony Cooper said he was ‘delighted’ the agency had been able to make the payments so quickly.
“We understand the importance of getting payment out into the industry and the agency will continue to focus on the remaining claims to make as many payments as quickly as possible,” he said.
The agency said it was working hard to finalise checks on claims it is not yet ready to pay.
More than 84 per cent of Welsh farmers received payments totalling over £205m million on Tuesday (December 1), the first day the EU payment window opened.
This surpassed last year’s figure and is in addition to the 258 advance payments worth about £5 million paid out in mid-October to farmers affected by the demise of Dairy Farmers of Britain.
In Scotland, almost 14,000 farmers, around 75 per cent of eligible claimants, will receive Single Payments worth over £400m this week.
By the end of December, around 20,000 farmers, 90 per cent of claimants, will have been paid £460m, the Scottish Government is predicting.
Earlier in the week, Scottish rural affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead contrasted the speed of payments north and south of the border.
“These payments are always vital but never more so than in tough economic times. Our payment timetable is ahead of the UK Government’s, meaning Scottish farmers will be reaping the benefits of their Single Farm Payments quicker than their counterparts in the south,” he said.
Farmers across the UK will receive a boost to payments of around 11 per cent because of the weakness of the pound relative to the euro.
The EU payment window runs between December 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.