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Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payments

Volume 688: debated on Wednesday 24 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many farmers have outstanding queries on their single farm payments.[HL1464]

There are fewer than 500 eligible claims to the 2005 single payment scheme where a final payment is outstanding. A proportion of that number is held pending the resolution of issues such as probate. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is also checking approximately 20,000 2005 cases, which include those involving queries raised by farmers, to establish whether the correct payment has been made. For the 2006 scheme year, RPA continues to process claims. A small number of payments have been made and no query has yet been raised.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many farmers faced financial penalties as a result of queries raised during discussions on their 2005 single farm payments; and how many of these were due to delays within the Rural Payments Agency.[HL1465]

As at 15 November 2006, 25,551 penalties have been applied to 2005 single payment scheme claims, affecting 19,673 single business identifiers. In addition, a further 1,823 claims were penalised owing to non-compliances found during inspections. Statistics held by the Rural Payments Agency are not categorised in such a way that it would be apparent what reasons caused the non-compliance to occur and hence the penalty to be applied.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What has been the cost of the administration of the single farm payment for 2005 to date; how many people have been employed to administer the scheme; and of those how many were permanent staff.[HL1466]

The allocation of direct costs for administering the single payment scheme (SPS) for 2005 to 31 December 2006 amounted to £104 million. This includes the costs of scheme processing but excludes apportioned overheads. At the end of 2006, there were circa 2,000 full-time equivalent staff employed to administer the SPS. Of these, 47 per cent were permanent, fixed-term or casual employees. The remaining 53 per cent were temporary workers engaged mainly through employment agencies.