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Agriculture: Subsidies

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate his Department has made of unspent funds under the single payment scheme; and what plans he has to allocate this funding for Article 68 measures; (243176)

(2) what plans his Department has to allocate funding under Article 68 measures under the Common Agricultural Policy.

The difference between payments to date under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme and the theoretical maximum is in the region of £50 million, largely as a result of farmers not claiming against all of their entitlements. No decisions have been made to date on the use of ‘Article 68’ measures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the EU Common Agricultural Policy Health Check; and when he expects full decoupling to be achieved. (243461)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 12 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1222-6W, on the Common Agricultural Policy, what recent assessment he has made of progress on decoupling as a result of the decisions made in the CAP Health Check. (243525)

I refer to the written statement made to Parliament on 25 November by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) about the outcome of the CAP health check negotiations. We believe that the health check will take the level of decoupled farm payments from 89 per cent. to 96 per cent. by 2013, although we estimate that the use of “national envelopes” could reduce that amount by up to 2.7 per cent., depending on how member states choose to implement them. The Government will continue to press in the EU for full decoupling of all farm payments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of progress towards meeting the Rural Payments Agency's target of administering 75 per cent. of single farm payments to farmers in England by the end of January; (244179)

(2) what percentage of farmers in England have received their single farm payments for 2008.

[holding answer 16 December 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement that I made on 17 December 2008, Official Report, column 120WS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of the 2007-08 budget for the Common Agricultural Policy was allocated to the 10 recipients who received the most in payments under the policy. (244231)

[holding answer 16 December 2008]: The percentage of the 2007-08 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget allocated to the 10 recipients in England who received the most in payments under the policy was 1.1 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many demands to repay overpayments have been made against single farm payment scheme claimants in each of the last three years; and how many repayments have been made. (244977)

[holding answer 18 December 2008]: Of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims examined by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to date 6,557 overpayments invoices have been issued against SPS claimants broken down as follows for each of the last three years.

SPS scheme year

Invoices issued

2005

3,893

2006

2,248

2007

416

RPA has received repayments from 1,610 customers either in full, as part of a repayment agreement or as a partial interception of a claim.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) mean, (b) median, (c) highest and (d) lowest demand has been to repay overpayments made against single farm payment claimants in each of the last three years. (244978)

[holding answer 18 December 2008]: Of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims examined to date the average, median, highest and lowest demand to repay overpayments made against SPS claimants in each of the last three scheme years are:

Scheme year

2005

2006

2007

Average

4,292.46

4,339.64

2,804.88

Median

802.74

1,040.43

922.21

Highest

738,198.25

649,138.33

117,493.20

Lowest

68.21

67.95

252.29

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total amount received is as a result of overpayment claims for the single payment scheme in each of the last three years. (244979)

[holding answer 18 December 2008]: To date we have received the following amounts as a result of overpayment claims, for each of the last three years:

SPS scheme year

Value (£)

2005

9,372,627.72

2006

4,046,321.80

2007

158,718.75

Total

13,577,668.27

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons reclaims of single farm payment overpayments were made in the latest period for which figures are available. (244980)

[holding answer 18 December 2008]: The Rural Payments Agency is obliged to recover overpayments. The reasons for these Single Payment Scheme (SPS) overpayments include entitlement correction work—some of which claimants asked us to carry out, partial payments—which were made in the 2005 and 2006 SPS scheme years and where the final claim value once validation is completed is now less than the amount paid and penalties.

Penalties can be applied to SPS applications for several reasons; submission of an application after the deadline, inaccuracies in an application, if a farmer does not meet cross compliance standards, or if they apply, set aside management rules. The size of the penalty will depend on the problem found. For example the size of a land penalty will depend on the amount of invalid land claimed. The size of a late submission penalty will depend on the number of days after the deadline on which an application was received.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many Single Payment Scheme payments for 2008 have been made to people in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency; and what percentage of farmers in that constituency have received payment. (246102)

Detailed analysis of Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments by constituency is not available.

From April 2009, in accordance with EC Commission Regulation 259/2008, SPS payment details will be available on the UK CAP payments website for payments made between 16 October 2007 and 15 October 2008, which is the EU financial year. Subsequent scheme payments will be published on this website each April, together with all other common agricultural policy payments made.