RPA makes best ever start to payment window

The Rural Payments Agency paid 95,600 English farmers on the first day of the payment window. It is the agency’s best ever start to the payment campaign, which began on 2 December.

The figure means 93% of individual claims were met and £1.48bn was paid out, representing 89.3% of the total £1.66bn payment fund. It also means that the RPA has exceeded its initial target of 86% of payments by value and 92.3% of customers by number by 31 December 2013. The next target, under its business plan, is to meet 97% of all payments before 31 March 2014.

Mark Grimshaw, RPA chief executive, said: “Today we have delivered nearly £1.5bn on the first banking day of the payment window, £100m more than we did on the same day last year, to the highest number of customers in England. This shows just how far the agency has come over the past few years and further demonstrates our commitment to delivering a first-class service to farmers.

“But this is just the first day of payments, and we will continue to work hard with farmers to ensure the remaining payments are made promptly and accurately over the coming days and weeks.”

An RPA spokesman added that the agency would contact farmers who were yet to receive their payments to explain what further work was necessary to validate their claims and to set out an estimated timetable for payment.

Welsh farmers have also begun to receive single farm payments. The Welsh government paid 94% of farmers a total of £196m on 2 December. Last year 91% of payments were made on the opening day.

The 15,147 who received their payments on the first day of the payment window were in addition to the 3,100 farmers paid early to help them cope in the aftermath of last spring’s severe winter weather.

The Scottish government pledged to make payments to 15,700 producers by 2 December.

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