Calls for challenging SPS targets

A farming industry delegation has urged DEFRA minister Jim Paice and the Rural Payments Agency to set more challenging targets for the payment of 2011 Single Payment Scheme claims.

Representatives from three key industry bodies in England held talks with Mr Paice and members of the RPA Oversight Board, of which the minister is chair.

The bodies – the Country Land and Business Association, the Tenant Farmers Association and the NFU – pressed the board to focus on achieving more timely payments for claimants who continue to be paid late in the payment window each year.

NFU president Peter Kendall, CLA president William Worsley and TFA national chairman Jeremy Walker issued a joint statement after the meeting on Monday 16 May.

“We are told that the RPA is in a better place than in previous years; one way to demonstrate this is to set challenging targets for the payment of 2011 SPS claims,” the statement read.

“These targets must exceed the performance of previous years if they are to have credibility. The RPA is continuing to work on outstanding payments for 2010, which we believe is its top priority, and it is actively trying to resolve historic problems.

“With the 2009 Rural Land Registry remapping exercise now behind us, and with many more farmers applying for payments online, we see no reason why the RPA cannot deliver accurate payments in an efficient manner for 2011 claims.”