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MP wants to hear from you if you haven't received your Single Farm Payment

December 6, 2011 10:45 AM

TF ruralSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron is asking local farmers to get in touch if they have not received their single farm payment from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), so that he can step in and help.

Many farmers in our area began receiving their Single Payments on the December 1st, as the European Commission payment window opened.

In a written ministerial statement yesterday, Defra announced: "…that as at the end of 1 December, the first day of the 2011 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payment window, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) had released payments totalling over £1.2 billion (71.6% of the estimated total fund) to some 84,600 English farmers (80.8% of the estimated total of eligible claimants). Payments to farmers will continue to be made as soon as validation of their claims is complete, with the values adjusted to reflect any significant outstanding overpayments from previous years. There remains much to do, but this promising beginning places RPA in a good position to meet its first SPS 2011 performance indicator, namely to pay 78% of the total estimated fund value to a minimum of 86% of eligible claimants by the end of December 2011."

Tim wants to hear from local farmers who have or have not received their payments so that he can monitor the success of this year's payment round.

Tim has previously slammed the RPA as a 'disaster' after a series of cases of maladministration that left some farmers waiting months or even years for their single farm payment. Last year Defra's accounts had to be 'qualified' because of European Commission penalties totalling £175m. The big fines were because Defra and the Rural Payments Agency had not applied regulations correctly in the processing of schemes, including the rural development programme for England 2007 and 2008.

The report said: "Total disallowance penalties paid and payable by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are now in excess of £0.5 billion."

Commenting, Tim said: "Many farmers rely on their single farm payment to keep them farming, producing food and protecting our countryside. Our farmers are the stewards of our landscape and making them wait months and years for the payment is wrong. I want to help any farmer in the South Lakes who feels that they have had to wait too long to receive their payment. Maladministration has been rife in the RPA up to now, and local farmers should not have to pay the price for that - I am committed to do all I can to help them."