The Rural Payments Agency has paid out less in 2006 single farm payments than at this point last year – meaning many farmers are in a worse situation than 12 months ago.

 

Although SFPs did start to flow much earlier this year, latest figures from the RPA reveal that the total amount of money paid to producers now stands at £1.274bn. This is 83.8% of the estimated total fund of £1.52 billion.

 

Yet at the same point in 2006 – when the agency was dealing with 2005 Single Payment Scheme claims – the agency had managed to pay a total of £1.32 billion or 87% of the fund.

 

Richard Wordsworth, NFU Single Payment Scheme adviser, said the situation was a mixed bag overall.

 

“Many farmers have now been paid in full for SPS 2006, but we have around 20,000 claimants who have received only 50-60% partial payments which is less than they received last year [80% partial payment]. We also have another 8000 farmers with no payments at all.”

 

Mr Wordsworth said he was encouraged that the RPA had managed to pay out £42m in the past week.  The week before it paid £36m, but the weekly figure has been as low as £14m.

 

But he added: “If the RPA is to meet its target of paying 96.14% of the fund by 30 June, it will need to pay £188m in the next five weeks.”

 

Find out more about SFPs by reading the Single Payment Scheme special report.