English farmers are being urged to put their businesses in a good position for upcoming EU support payments changes by making their Single Payment Scheme (SPS) applications online this year.
The window for online applications opened today (20/2) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is encouraging claimants to join the 55,800 people who have already discovered how quick and easy it is to make their applications electronically.
The Agency’s free SPS Online service offers an automatic check for common errors, the peace of mind of an instant online receipt and confirmation email, and is postage free. Farmers who have not previously applied online are being sent starter packs, containing a PIN and a guide on how to log on to the service, to help them make the move to electronic applications.
RPA Information and Technology Director Ed Schofield said: “Most farmers now choose to transact electronically because it makes good business sense. Applying for SPS electronically in 2014 will build up confidence in the online process and put farmers in a strong position for changes to come under the new Basic Payment Scheme.
“SPS Online is easy to access, faster and more secure and applicants used to paper forms will find the online layout familiar but with a few extra benefits, such as built in checks and an instant receipt.”
Once an online application is confirmed as being received, customers can use SPS Online to track their claim to see if the RPA is waiting for additional information from them to be able to process the application. They can also view and print claim and entitlements statements for previous years - as far back as 2009 - even if those original applications were made on paper.
SPS Online is available here https://www.gov.uk/single-payment-scheme-online
Online customers should look out for the SPS 2014 Supplement Handbook and Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) insert being sent by email in the coming days. These are important documents which should be saved in a safe place. They will also be available on the RPA website.
The supplement contains important reminders and new information about the current scheme. The BPS insert includes important information about entitlements (including details on trading for the rest of 2014) and crop diversification, which could affect future claims, for the new scheme, which starts next year. Paper copies will be sent in March to farmers and agents who did not apply electronically last year.
All SPS applications, whether online or on paper, must reach RPA by midnight on 15 May to avoid late application penalties. Once you’ve sent your application, you can make certain changes by writing to us or emailing us. These must be received by midnight on 2 June to avoid penalties being applied. Applications and changes can be made until midnight on 9 June, however penalties will be applied. Applications received after this date will not be accepted. Customers should also note that RPA must receive RLE1 forms by midnight on April 2 for entitlements transfers to be effective for 2014 scheme.
Demand for Drop-in Centres has decreased as more applicants have made the move online, and therefore the Agency will not be opening any this year. RPA advice on paper applications is to post them in good time by special or recorded delivery.
You can find out more about SPS 2014 on the RPA website:
20 Feb: SPS 2014 window opens for online applicants.
12 March: Paper application pack distribution begins.
2 April: RPA must receive RLE1 forms by midnight on this date for entitlements transfers to be effective for 2014 scheme.
15 May: SPS applications must reach RPA by midnight on this date.
2 June: Certain changes can be made to applications that have been sent to RPA by writing to or emailing RPA. Changes received by midnight on this date will not be subjected to penalties.
9 June: RPA can accept your application or any changes until midnight on this date. However, penalties will be applied. Applications received after this date will not be accepted.
Notes to editors:
The Rural Payments Agency’s work helps the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to encourage a thriving farming and food sector and strong rural communities. The RPA makes Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support payments, traces livestock and carries out inspections.
It manages more than 40 schemes, paying farmers and traders more than £2 billion each year. To administer such a wide range of schemes and meet EU requirements it manages information on more than two million land parcels.
The RPA has produced two short YouTube videos this year. These show how to register for the Government Gateway and get started on SPS Online. They are available through our YouTube channel Ruralpay.
*Media only contact: Adam Fisher, RPA Press Office, 01189 687959 email@example.com