[holding answer 1 March 2010]: The number of farmers who received payments under the single payment scheme (SPS) in England in respect of each scheme year is set out in the following table:
SPS Scheme year Number 2006 106,979 2007 104,589 2008 104,844
SPS Scheme year
Latest figures show that, as at 23 February 2010 over 98,000 farmers have received payment for the 2009 scheme year, the payment window for which closes on the 30 June.
There are a number of farmers who have not received a payment because their claim is still undergoing the necessary validation checks. Some of these claims may result in no payment being due to the claimant once eligibility checks have been carried out.
All claims undergo validation as part of the Rural Payment Agency's regular processes and in addition a minimum of 5 per cent. are inspected, physically or remotely, as required by the EU. For cross compliance purposes, each of the four competent control authorities inspect at least 1 per cent. of farmers receiving payments that are conditional on meeting the cross compliance requirements for which they have responsibility. RPA uses existing cattle and sheep inspection regimes to partly satisfy this obligation.
The number of SPS claims which have been reduced is set out in the following table:
SPS Scheme year Number 2006 12,921 2007 13,719 2008 7,748
SPS Scheme year
This includes a very substantial number of minor over-declarations of areas as well as more significant breaches of the scheme rules where we have to apply sanctions.
[holding answer 1 March 2010]: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) currently operates from six main offices and there are no plans to reduce that number. RPA reviews, and will continue to review, its operations and resources regularly to ensure customer service is delivered effectively and efficiently. It is anticipated that RPA will reduce the number of staff employed at each office during the 2010-11 year.
Claims under the Single Payment Scheme are currently processed at RPA's offices in Exeter, Northallerton, Newcastle, Workington and Carlisle. Plans have recently been announced to transfer SPS processing from Newcastle to the Workington, Carlisle and Northallerton offices.
Staff at RPA's Reading office no longer process SPS claims but are involved in different aspects of administering the scheme.
At the end of January 2010 the number of full-time equivalent staff involved in administering the Single Payment Scheme is:
Location Number Reading 147.51 Exeter 201.85 Northallerton 385.67 Newcastle 232.89 Workington 244.03 Carlisle 259.53 Total 1,471.48 Note: These figures do not include Inspectorate or Finance staff.
Note: These figures do not include Inspectorate or Finance staff.
RPA operates a flexible resourcing model and staff reductions are usually achieved through the reductions of temporary and fixed term appointments with regular consultation taking place with people and trade unions on any planned staff reductions.