Farmers say if government pledges to help small businesses through the credit crunch mean anything, then the Rural Payments Agency must speed up delivery of the single farm payment.

DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn told retailers last week that they should pay food producers more promptly to enable them so survive the recession.

The government has also pledged that it will pay its own bills with small businesses within 10 days to help ease their cash-flow problems.

According to the RPA’s business plan its 2008/09 target is to have paid 7%% by value of valid 2008 claims by 31 Jan 2009 and 90% by value by 31 March 2009.

But Nottinghamshire farmer Peter Gadd said if the government’s words had any substance then farmers needed to see their single farm payments sooner.

“The government should pay the single farm payment as soon as the payment window opens at the start of December,” said Mr Gadd. “If it doesn’t, the comments are just spin and the government speaks with forked tongue.”

Do you agree that the SFP needs to come sooner than planned. Is cashflow becoming a real problem for you? Share your thoughts on the forums