Farmers in Wales and Scotland will begin receiving interim single farm payments within weeks.

Welsh farmers have been told they will get 80% of their single farm payments when the payment window opens on 1 December, while Scotland’s farmers will receive 75% of SFPs from that date.

In Scotland the payment would have been almost 82% of SFP entitlement, but 6.5% has to be deducted under modulation.

Scotland’s rural development minister Ross Finnie pointed out that payment in December would depend on claims being checked and approved by the Scottish Executive.

After announcing the payments in Wales, Carwyn Jones, the Welsh assembly’s rural affairs minister, echoed the comments of his Scottish counterpart, warning that an interim payment would be made only on validated claims.

Farmers who do not answer queries about data on their application forms, and there are about 3000 of these at present, will not qualify until outstanding issues are settled, he said.

Wales had worked with other UK departments to obtain permission from Brussels to make a part payment. In Wales this would be 80% of the full payment, less deductions for modulation and any penalties, Mr Jones added.

Gareth Vaughan, FUW president, congratulated the minister on his efforts to get vital payments to farmers at the earliest possible date.

“But we will be pressing for the remainder of the money to reach farmers’ bank accounts as soon as possible,” Mr Vaughan said.

NFU Scotland president John Kinnaird said he welcomed Mr Finnie’s announcement, but the union was continuing to stress to the executive the importance of ensuring that the vast majority of farmers had their applications cleared in time to receive the payment.

There had also been concern that because of system delays in England, where farmers are unlikely to see any support payments until at least February 2006, there could be knock-on effects for the Scots and Welsh. The effects could result from a technicality relating to the funding of the SFP national reserve.

It is calculated on a UK basis, meaning that final SFP calculations cannot be completed until all claims country-wide are finalised.
NFUS said it was now in discussion with the executive to ensure that Scotland’s farmers did not lose out as a result of delays south of the border.

fwnews@rbi.co.uk