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Agriculture: Subsidies

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 485W, on agriculture: subsidies, how the £10,000 for additional costs was allocated. (246402)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: The £10,000 figure put against ‘additional costs’ was the estimate for dealing with ‘appeals’ against penalties imposed by the Rural Payments Agency on applicants who had a breach of cross compliance reported by the Environment Agency (EA). This relates to the time spent by the EA team in head office and the area inspector involved with the case.

The figure is an estimate as no direct cost measurement is in place.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims were made under the single farm payment scheme in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. (247175)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The following table gives the total number of claims made to the Rural Payments Agency under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England for scheme years 2005, 2006 and 2007.

SPS scheme year

Number of claims

2005 SPS

119,964

2006 SPS

109,354

2007 SPS

106,341

The aforementioned figures are claims made and include, for example, duplicates and claims not subsequently valid for payment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the administrative cost of processing an individual claim under the single farm payment scheme was in the latest period for which figures are available. (247176)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The average administrative cost of processing an individual Single Payment Scheme claim in 2007-08 is estimated at £742.

This figure was obtained by considering the direct processing costs and the total number of claims received. It is not however representative of the actual costs of processing individual claims because in practice, these vary in complexity and thus processing effort is required to validate and pay them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims of under (a) £5, (b) £10, (c) £20, (d) £50, (e) £150, (f) £200, (g) £250 and (h) £400 were made under the single farm payment scheme in 2007. (247177)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The following table gives the value of claims made under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England in 2007, falling into various size categories.

SPS claim value

Number of claims

[le]£5

5

≥£5 [le]£10

6

≥£10 [le]£20

34

≥£20 [le]£50

591

≥£50 [le]£150

4,361

≥£150 [le]£200

2,303

≥£200 [le]£250

2,188

≥£250 [le]£400

5,157

The figures represent the number of claims which have a claim value before any deduction is made, for example, taking off EU and National Modulation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to introduce a de minimus level for single farm payments; and what the smallest such payment was in 2008. (249574)

Under the recently agreed CAP health check, member states will be required to introduce a de minimis threshold, within defined limits, for 2010 EU direct payments, including the single payment scheme (SPS). For the UK, this means having the option of setting the minimum either in the range of €100 to €200 or in the range of one to five hectares. A consultation exercise will be undertaken during 2009 on how this discretion will be exercised in England.

The smallest payment made so far under the 2008 SPS is £0.70.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of single farm payments in respect of (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09 remain outstanding; and what the sum of such outstanding payments for each year is. (249871)

The following table shows the proportion and sum of single payment scheme (SPS) outstanding payments in England for the scheme years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008:

SPS scheme year

Percentage of total SPS payments outstanding for the scheme year concerned (rounded)

Value of outstanding SPS payments (rounded) (£)

2005

0.005

£75,000

2006

0.006

£93,000

2007

0.03

£446,000

2008

24.8

£400,000,000

For 2005 and 2006 the outstanding payments are held up awaiting the granting of probate for customers or the resolution of other legal issues blocking payment. Granting of probate is also the largest single issue holding up the remaining 2007 payments. The 2008 figure reflects the statement published on the Rural Payments Agency website on 22 January 2009.