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Single Farm Payments

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on the Department’s targets to pay applicants for single farm payment of the rejection of entitlements which are declared invalidated. (59350)

The rejection of Single Payment Scheme claims because they are not valid does not affect the Rural Payments Agency’s target to make 96.14 per cent. of valid SPS payments by the end of the payment window on 30 June 2006.

The deadline for the Single Payment Scheme in 2005 was 16 May. The regulatory payment window for the scheme is from 1 December to 30 June, but the Rural payments Agency announced in early 2005 that the most probable time frame for payments to begin being made was in February 2005. This target was met, as the first payments were issued on 20 February. Full payments were continuing to be made until 5 May, when it was announced that substantial partial payments were going to be made to a large number of farmers yet to receive a payment. These were made by 12 May with full payments and top-up payments currently being made.

The Rural Payments Agency is working hard to ensure that outstanding payments will be made as quickly as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to ensure that all validated single payment scheme (SPS) entitlement statements are issued by the end of March; and how many farmers in Devon have received (a) validated and (b) unvalidated SPS statements. (59660)

120,367 applications were received for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). By the end of Monday 22 May, 93,710 claimants have received a full or partial payment. This represents 78 per cent. of the customer base now having received a total of £1.322 billion. This equates to 88 per cent. of the £1.5 billion fund.

The remaining payments will be made as soon as legally possible following the positive action set out in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's written statement on 16 March 2006, Official Report, column 104WS, the response to the hon. Member for South- East Cambridgeshire on 27 March 2006, Official Report, column 543, and the written statement on 19 April 2006, Official Report, column 13WS.

The Rural Payments Agency does not have data available on a regional basis, as the scheme is not administered in this way.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of 2005 Single Farm Payment Scheme claims he expects to be paid by 30 June 2006; what the value of each such payment will be; and whether those claims unpaid by that date will be (a) subject to EU reimbursement and (b) met from public funds. (66171)

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is working hard to ensure that outstanding payments will be made as quickly as possible. By 16 May some £1.3 billion had been paid, representing 87 per cent. of the total projected expenditure. The value of each payment will depend on the size of the claim and the proportion that is determined as eligible.

Any 2005 scheme claims unpaid by the end of June 2006 will be subject to a sliding scale of EU reimbursement. The reduction in the rate of reimbursement will not apply to the first 4 per cent. of the expenditure and any subsidy paid after 15 October 2006 will not be reimbursed.

My officials have approached the European Commission to request an extension to the 2005 SPS payment window, although as yet, no response has been received.

The deadline for the Single Payment Scheme in 2005 was 16 May. The regulatory payment window for the scheme is from 1 December to 30 June, but RPA announced in early 2005 that the most probable time frame for payments to begin being made was in February 2006. This target was met, as the first payments were issued on 20 February. Full payments were continuing to be made until 5 May, when it was announced that substantial partial payments were going to be made to a large number of farmers yet to receive a payment. These were made by 12 May with full payments and top-up payments currently being made.

RPA is working hard to ensure that outstanding payments will be made as quickly as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what percentage of eligible claimants for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) had lodged their SPS claim forms by 15 May 2006; if he will estimate how much and what percentage of total SPS monies for 2006 these claims represent; and if he will make a statement. (72834)

52,204 Single Payment Scheme applications were received on or before 15 May 2006.

The Rural Payments Agency is not able to determine how many of these forms are valid until they have been through level 1 validation checks to ensure that basic information is present on the form.

Until these forms are entered into the computer system the RPA is unable to establish the value of the eligible claims.

118,236 Single Payment Scheme application forms have been sent to potential claimants plus an additional 1,500 application forms requested by potentially new applicants to the 2006 scheme.

A copy of the 2006 application form is also available for customers to download and complete from the RPA website. Customers can also collect blank application forms from RPA offices and drop-in centres located around the country.

As announced on 5 May, applications to the 2006 SPS received between 16-31 May will not attract late claim penalties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the delivery of single farm payments to farmers. (74173)

By close of business on 23 May 2006, 93,710 single payment scheme claimants had received either a full or substantial partial payment. The Rural Payments Agency is working hard to ensure that outstanding payments are made as quickly as possible.