UK bank notes© Stock Connection/REX/Shutterstock

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) rates about 5% higher than last year have been confirmed by Defra.

The 2017 rates will be:

  • Non-SDA land: £230.97/ha (£93.47/acre)
  • SDA land: £228.88/ha (£92.62/acre)
  • Moorland: £63.48/ha (£25.69/acre)

The exchange rate for conversion was announced at the end of September, but each year the number of entitlements claimed changes slightly, which is why the difference between each year’s values is not simply a reflection of the currency difference.

Also, each year a slightly different amount is deducted from payments as a financial discipline charge introduced in 2013 to ensure spending does not exceed the European Commission’s budget. 

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Payments should start from 1 December, but the RPA has warned that delays are likely for those with cross-border claims or who have been inspected recently.

Applications for BPS 2018 have not opened yet, but the RPA has said those who applied online in 2017 will be emailed, while a paper application form will be sent to those who applied on paper in 2017.

Information for BPS 2018 will be published on Gov.uk, including scheme rules, supporting forms and guidance.

RPA checklist to prepare for BPS 2018:

  • Sign in to the Rural Payments service early – you can do this before applications open. If you have applied online before, but haven’t signed in for a while, you may need to reset your password, following the onscreen instructions. You can also find help in the “BPS 2017: Hints and tips’ guidance”. Search for “BPS 2017” at www.gov.uk.
  • Update your contact details – the RPA will use these to contact claimants about their application, so make sure they are correct, especially email addresses
  • Set permission levels – you need “BPS Submit” permission to submit an application. An agent can be given permission to apply on behalf of a claimant.
  • Information about BPS 2018 will be published online, including scheme rules and guidance about how to apply
  • Check maps carefully – make sure land parcels are registered correctly. This can be done online, using the Rural Payments service. Land transfers and removals can also be done through the service and an update will be published online  to let claimants know as soon as this is possible
  • The Rural Payments blog will offer information, helpful hints and tips about applying for BPS in 2018. It will also have information about Countryside Stewardship, and RDPE schemes and grants
  • Any claimant who has recently changed their bank details needs to call the RPA to inform it of the new details.