asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many farmers have applied to receive the single farm payment in the current year; and what is their estimate of the number of applicants who have the equipment and skills to access the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.[HL7880]
For the 2006 scheme year, 110,841 applications were received for the single payment scheme (SPS) of which 279 applications were received after the final deadline of 10 July. The total number of applications includes some duplicates from the same applicants which are being identified and removed.
There are no figures specifically relating to SPS applicants and access to computers. However, Defra’s whole farm approach reviewed English farmers’ access to computers in 2005. The best data found were in the December 2003 Survey of Agriculture, stating that 66 per cent of farmers had access to a computer, of whom 91 per cent had access to the internet. Regarding IT skills, the best data found was a 2003 Farm Business Survey that reported that 55 per cent of farm businesses in England used a computer for business.