Recently agreed EU legislation provides the possibility for member states to make 70 per cent. advance payments under the 2009 single payment scheme (SPS) from 16 October where full scheme controls have been completed.
We have always said that we would consider the case for advance payments on the basis of an assessment by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on what consequential impacts would be, including on the timetable of full payments for all claimants. We have yet to take a final decision, but DEFRA have spoken to the chief executive on the issue and it is clear that there would be a real risk that making advances would affect the RPA's ability to match last year's performance in making nearly £1 billion of full SPS payments in December.
Whatever the final decision reached on advances, the RPA will continue to address any cases of individual hardship as sympathetically as possible.