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A web service which enables people to search through the list of support payments made to individual farm businesses has been launched by DEFRA.

This is the first time that details of payments made across the whole of the UK have been pulled together on an official government site.

At the moment only the details of payments made via rural development and agri-environment schemes in the UK from 1 January 2007 to 15 October 2007 are available.

From 30 April 2009 details will be added for beneficiaries of all CAP schemes, including the Single Payment Scheme, during the year from 16 October 2007 to 15 October 2008.

The site will be updated annually.

Junior DEFRA minister Lord Rooker said: “This is an important step forward in making information about public money and how it is spent more freely available.

“The UK is an enthusiastic supporter of this EU-wide initiative, under which all Member States are obliged to publish relevant data.”

In line with guidance from the European Data Protection Supervisor, the information shown includes the name, the local town and the first part of the postcode for each recipient, together with the total payments received by that beneficiary.

The site allows people to search by name, location, postcode and also size of payment.

The site will be administered by the Rural Payments Agency which says that if farmers believe their figures are wrong they should contact 0845 603 7777.