The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has exceeded its Single Payment Scheme (SPS) 2014 target for the end of March, more than two months ahead of schedule.
By Wednesday (28 January) the Agency had paid a total of nearly £1.46 billion to nearly 100,000 farmers in England. This equates to 98.4 per cent of farmers eligible to claim and 97.3 per cent of the total estimated fund value.
In its 2014-2015 Business Plan, the RPA had set targets for 97 per cent of customers and 97 per cent of total estimated fund value to be paid out by 31 March this year.
Farming Minister George Eustice said:
Our farming industry is at the heart of the government’s long-term economic plan, so I am pleased that the RPA has ensured that almost all farmers have already received their CAP payments, almost two months ahead of schedule.
I am determined that the RPA’s good progress is maintained as we move to the new Basic Payment Scheme, and we are working to ensure the claim process is as simple as possible for farmers on the new digital service called Rural Payments.
Mark Grimshaw, RPA Chief Executive, said:
While we are delighted with our performance in the final year of SPS and it shows just how far we have come in our drive to become a trusted, efficient and effective organisation, we do not intend to rest on our laurels.
Our focus now is on ensuring all those farmers who remain unpaid, especially those who supply to First Milk, get their money as soon as possible. We know how vital these payments are to farm businesses.
We remain committed to offering the best service possible to farmers on existing schemes while preparing to deliver on new policies and a new Rural Payments service.
Farmers who want to get their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money as early as possible next year, should get online and get registered for the new service as soon as possible.
That also applies to existing SPS customers, who need to be aware they that although their details will be transferred across, they still need to go in and register on the new service.
The previous SPS payment target was 93 per cent of eligible claimants – representing 86 per cent of the total estimated fund value.
The RPA surpassed this target, with a total of more than 98,950 customers having been paid nearly £1,433,518,345 by the close of 31 December 2014 – equating to 97.4 per cent of eligible claims and 95.6 per cent of the total estimated fund value.
For more information on the new Rural Payments service visit www.gov.uk/ruralpayments or call the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.