Single Payment Scheme opens to growers

Growers can now apply to be allocated new Single Payment Scheme (SPS) entitlements for permanent fruit, vegetable and vine crops, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has announced.

The declaration by the RPA - an executive agency of Defra - follows on from the closure of the consultation exercise covering SPS aspects of the reform of the EU fruit and vegetable, and wine regime.

The new entitlements will be valued at a flat rate - a method pushed for by the NFU in the consultation as being the "the fairest and simplest method of determining the value of the additional entitlements".

In December last year it was announced that, for the first time, claims could be made under the scheme on orchard, nursery and vine crops - as well as nursery crops (HW, 14 August 2008) and nut crops.

It was also announced that the land would become eligible under next year's (2009) SPS scheme - although the new entitlements have now been pushed back a year as allocation of the payments will start in 2010.

NFU chief horticultural adviser Phil Hudson said: "We are pleased Defra agreed with our recommendation that SPS entitlements should be flat rate but we are disappointed that there will be a delay in allocation until 2010.

"We will now be working with Defra to ensure that growers gain access to the entitlements they are quaified for."

Chairman for the NFU Board for Horticulture Richard Hirst added: "It is important that growers of permanent crops, including orchards, nursery crops, vines and nuts, are proactive and contact the RPA with their revised or new claims.

"Failure to do so will lead to lost opportunities for those who are at long last able to claim."

Minister for food and farming Lord Rooker said in a statement: "I appreciate that growers would have preferred the allocation of new entitlements for the 2009 scheme year.

"However, we need to ensure that this work does not present risks to the Rural Payments Agency reaching its targets for 2008 payments and the implementation of CAP Heath Check changes, which are scheduled to apply from 1 January 2009.

"Allocation of the new entitlements for the 2010 scheme represents, therefore, the best balance of benefits and risks for all SPS applicants."

The development also follows on from the decision last year to abolish the FVP authorisation system in England for SPS 2008.

Around £1.5bn is expected to be paid out annually under the SPS to farmers and growers by the RPA.

The RPA has published a fact-sheet on its website with important information on these changes. Growers can get a copy of the factsheet from www.rpa.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/home.

It is recommended that all new and existing SPS claimants register their interest by contacting the RPA call centre as soon as possible, on 0845 603 7777.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

How will reduced apple and pear harvests hit the industry?

This spring, many top-fruit growers in the UK and across Europe were dismayed to discover that swathes of their orchards had been hit by frost.

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

How should fruit growers prepare for water abstraction reform?

Upcoming reforms to water abstraction licensing will for the first time cap the amount of water that fruit growers can take for trickle irrigation.

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

Getting a measure of the production labour crisis

At a debate during last week's Fruit Focus trade show in Kent, senior industry figures painted a bleak picture of an increasingly difficult seasonal labour market that is already impacting on investment.