Record number of SFP applications recorded online

More than 101,600 applications were received in this year’s single farm payment window in England – despite intermittent technical issues for online services.

Of these applications, in excess of 69,000 were made using the Rural Payment Agency’s Single Payment Scheme (SPS) online system before the 15 May deadline.

An RPA spokesman said: “The last reported problem with the online payments system was on Monday (12 May) so there were quite a few days left after that for applications to be submitted.”

The RPA apologised to farmers after computer glitches hampered its online payments system..

But the agency is pleased that despite the problems a record number of people – around 70% – submitted their applications online this year.

Although the SPS 2014 submission deadline has passed, the annual late claim window is now open until midnight on 9 June.

Late applications incur a penalty for eventual payment of 1% per working day.

For example, customers submitting their applications on Monday (19 May) will have any eventual payment reduced by 2% and so on.

Richard Wordsworth, NFU single farm payment adviser, said: “It is encouraging that around 14,000 more people submitted their claim online this year.

“But it still leaves a lot of people who are going to have to adjust to a new online system next year – plus a new set of rules.”

He added: “The RPA will still be counting some of the paper forms that were submitted towards the end of last week.

“The normal total figure of applications is 103,500, so there will still be people putting in claims this week and losing 2-3% of their payment, which is concerning.”

The RPA was continuing to get in touch with those customers who have existing applications, which have not yet been submitted.

Customers who intend to submit a late application on paper were reminded that applications received after midnight on 9 June 2014 would be rejected.

The RPA advises those customers to take a photocopy of their form before they send it.

Read also: Farmers frustrated by online SPS problems