More than £960m of English farmers’ 2008 single payment entitlement was paid by the end of last year, the Rural Payments Agency has said.

Almost 70,000 farmers, or 65% of the total number of claimants, received their payments by 31 December, representing 59% of the total fund.

The RPA said it was working towards its target of making 75% of payments, by value, by the end of January.

About 90% of the 2008 single payments are expected to be paid by the end of March, it added.