I made a statement on 6 December 2012, Official Report, column 76WS about payments to farmers in England under the EU common agricultural policy single payment scheme (SPS) for 2012. I informed the House that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) met its December 2012 target for SPS payments on the first banking day of the payment window.
I can now confirm that RPA met its second performance target more than five weeks ahead of schedule. By 19 February 2013 the agency had paid more than 98.4% of volume and 97.2% of value.
This is the best ever performance on the part of the agency which has now exceeded both of its SPS performance targets as well as meeting its EU benchmark more than four months early. A total of £1.6 billion has now been paid to more than 102,000 English farmers.
The agency has been working to a ministerial commitment to pay 84% of payments by value and 91% of customers by number by 31 December 2012, and 97% of payments and 97% of customers by end March 2013. The EU benchmark is to pay more than 95.238% of the scheme fund value by the end of June.