The Rural Payments Agency has started making partial single farm payments, the new DEFRA secretary David Miliband has announced.

In a written statement, issued out of the blue on Tuesday morning (9 May), Mr Miliband said the agency has made transfers into the BACS system, and drawn up payable orders, for £730m.

“This means the money should reach farmers over the coming week. In total 85% of the £1500m (£1.5bn) worth of expected payments for the 2005 SPS scheme year will have been distributed.”

Mr Miliband said the task now was to ensure that the residual element of payments was made as soon as possible to those who have received a partial payment.

A plan also needed to be put in place to deal with those who to date have not yet received either a full or a partial payment under the 2005 scheme, he said. 

In total 31,000 claimants were excluded from the partial payments run, although 26,000 of these were because their claim amounted to less than 1,000 Euro.

However, this leaves another 5000 who have been left out because a diverse range of other factors which made their cases particularly complex.

“Making full payments to this group of 5000 will now be given the highest priority by the Rural Payments Agency,” he said.

“Increased priority will also be given to making outstanding payments under the Hill Farm Allowance scheme in recognition of the importance of HFA payments to those concerned.”