DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett has announced that interim single farm payments will be made as “soon as is operationally possible” although the Rural Payments Agency says this is likely to take weeks rather than days.

In a statement on Wednesday (19 April), Mrs Beckett said that the acting chief executive of the RPA, Mark Addison, had told her he did not feel confident that he could say with complete assurance that the RPA will be able to make all of the full payments by the end of June.

“Given that advice, I have authorised that work on a system to make substantial partial payments to the remaining claimants should now be given priority and I further decided that the system should be deployed as soon as it is operationally possible to do so,” she said.

“The RPA will in the meantime continue to make full payments when claims have been fully validated, with historic claimants having priority.”