99% of single farm payments made – minister

More than 99% of Single Farm Payment money from 2010 claims has now been paid, said farm minister Jim Paice.

Mr Paice was speaking at a conference organised by the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers in Suffolk on Friday (24 June).

He also gave an undertaking that all error correction would be completed in the next six to nine months. “We had to put error correction to one side to speed up payments,” he told delegates.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said the announcement was effectively an extension of an earlier timescale.

In a previous undertaking, the Rural Payments Agency was to have corrected all errors before the next payment window opens in December 2011.

Nick Millard of Bruton Knowles called on Mr Paice to ensure all future policy could cope with frequent changes of land occupation in farming businesses.

“Agricultural businesses are dynamic and land occupation changes regularly,” said Mr Millard.

“There are occasions when DEFRA doesn’t recognise how often these changes take place,” he said.