Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Single payment scheme '10-month rule' replaced

Single payment scheme '10-month rule' replaced

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (21/08) issued by The Government News Network on 28 January 2008

Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming, today welcomed the decision to replace the 10-month rule governing the period for which farmers have to have land at their disposal under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) .

Following agreement at this week's EU Agriculture Council, farmers will be required from the 2008 scheme year to have the land used to support their SPS claims at their disposal on just one day. In the UK, that day will be 15 May each scheme year. This replaces the previous requirement for farmers to have land at their disposal for a period of 10 months.

It is the SPS applicant who is responsible for making sure that cross compliance requirements are met for the whole calendar year. From 1 April 2008 this applies even if the applicant is not in occupation of the land for the entire year.

Lord Rooker said:

"This is a welcome simplification of the SPS rules in advance of the CAP Health Check when we look forward to further reforms. It now means that farmers have greater flexibility to transfer land throughout the year rather than being restricted by the 10 month rule. "

Notes to editors

1. The Single Payment Scheme was introduced in England in 2005 under the 2003 CAP reforms. Around £1.5 billion is expected to be paid out annually under the scheme to English farmers by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), an Executive Agency of Defra.

2. The changes to the SPS 10-month rule were agreed at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 21 January 2008. Farmers now only need to have SPS land at their disposal on one day (which, for the UK, has been set as 15 May) in each scheme year.

3. Further details on the SPS can be found on the Defra website at:

Public enquiries 08459 335577;
Press notices are available on our website
Defra's aim is sustainable development

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