Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Changes to the Single Payment Scheme

The new minimum claim size for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) and other direct farm payments has been set.

The decision follows the completion of a consultation exercise covering the CAP Health Check reforms relating to these payments.

After full consideration of the consultation responses and discussion with industry, it has been decided that the new minimum claim size will be set at one hectare.

This will apply to a farmer’s total claim for SPS, Area Payment for Nuts and Protein Crop Premium from the 2010 scheme year.

Announcing the new minimum claim size today, Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said:

“By setting the minimum claim size at one hectare, the lowest area allowed by the EU, we have minimised the amount of change for farmers and ensured that as many farmers as possible will be able to claim.

“Ultimately, we want to see more reform of the CAP, so that it rewards farmers for the public benefits they provide.  This includes looking after the environment, something which the market alone cannot reward.”

SPS payments are administered by the Rural Payments Agency. For more information on the new minimum claim size, please visit

Notes to editors

  1. The option to introduce an ‘objective farmer test’ to determine who is eligible under the SPS and other direct payment schemes will not be taken up.
  1. Nuts and protein support will be decoupled in 2012 with the funds being added to the flat rate value of SPS entitlements in that year
  1. The decisions announced today are subject to the detailed EU scheme regulations and any further clarifications which the European Commission may provide.
  1. The Single Payment Scheme was introduced in England in 2005 under the 2003 CAP reforms. Around £1.5 billion is paid out annually under the scheme to English farmers by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), an Executive Agency of Defra.
  1. The RPA also administers the Area Payment for Nuts and Protein Crop Premium, which are the only CAP schemes in England which are still coupled to production.
  1. Political agreement was reached on the CAP Health Check at the EU Agriculture Council on 20 November 2008 and the legal text was adopted on 19 January 2009.   Further details can be found at:
  1. Further details on the SPS can be found on the Defra website at:
  1. For full details on the consultation visit:

Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
Out of hours telephone 020 7270 8960

Public enquiries: 08459 335577
News releases available on our website:

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