SFP starts to reach England’s farmers

The majority of farmers in England have received their Single Farm Payment, just one day after the European Union gave the go-ahead for payments to be made.

The Rural Payments Agency said it had paid £1.3bn to some 86,500 farmers by Wednesday (2 December), leaving about 20% of farmers left to receive their claims.

Tony Cooper, RPA chief executive, said the payment figures showed “significant improvement” on last year’s.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to make these payments to farmers so quickly,” he said.

“We understand the importance of getting payment out into the industry and the agency will continue to focus on the remaining claims to make as many payments as quickly as possible.”

The move has surprised English farmers, who historically received payments weeks or even months after their Scottish and Welsh counterparts.

Last year just 21,000 farmers in England were paid just over £700m by 16 December.

Writing on Twitter, Devon beef farmer FamerPaula said: “We’ve got ours…thought it wasn’t going to arrive till late Jan. Pleasant surprise when I checked the bank account.”

Devon Duck farmer organicduck said: “We have received ours. Hurrah and thank you RPA! Maybe off Christmas shopping or maybe pay off some overdraft.”

The Scottish Government announced on Tuesday that it had paid about 75% of farmers their share of £400m.

The Welsh Assembly Government said 82.5% of claimants would receive payments from a £205m pot by the end of the week.

Last year just 21,000 farmers in England were paid just over £700m by 16 December.

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