The Rural Payments Agency is still on target to start paying England’s producers their full single farm payment in February, according to junior DEFRA minister Jim Knight.

Mr Knight made the announcement during parliamentary questions on Thursday (Nov 17).

“The EU regulatory window for payments under the 2005 single payment scheme is 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006,” he said.

“The RPA remains committed and on target to commence payments well within that window in February 2006.”

Mr Knight added that the government had been successful in persuading the European Commission that it should be able to make interim payments if it had to.

“But as we are on target for February, that is not something on which we have dwelt unduly – but it is in our back pocket if we need it.”