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26/02/13 - Single Payment Scheme 2013 – online applications now open

The Rural Payments Agency is urging English farmers to join over 42,000 people who have already found how quick and easy it is to submit their Single Payment Scheme (SPS) applications online.

The free SPS Online service has opened today (26/2) and claimants who use it benefit from an automatic check for common errors, no postage fees and an instant online receipt.

RPA Customer Services Director Justin Chamberlain said: “Increasing numbers of SPS claimants are finding that is quicker and easier to make their SPS claims online and 97 percent of those surveyed after using the system in 2012 said that they would recommend it to others.

“Submitting your application online removes the hassle of having to photocopy forms and having to take time out of your day to visit the post office. You also avoid postage costs while the instant online receipt gives you the reassurance that your application has been received by RPA.”

Michael Divall, who farms in Nottinghamshire, is one of many people who used SPS online in 2012 for the first time. He said: “I saw that you could do it online and I thought that I would give it a go. I am not really a computer person and can normally just turn it on and send a few e-mails, but I have to say that I found the system pretty simple.

“I don’t like paperwork at the best of times but I found that SPS online saved me time. I would have given up on it if it had been complicated and time consuming, and gone back to the paper application, but it was straight forward and easy to use.”

Once an online application is confirmed as being received, customers can use SPS online to track their claim to see if RPA is waiting for additional information from them to be able to process their application. They can also view and print claim and entitlements statements for previous years, as far back as 2009, even if those original applications were made on paper.

SPS Online is now available at

Farmers who applied online in 2012 will not receive a paper SPS application form in the post this year. Instead, RPA is sending them the handbook for 2013 which includes the key updates for this scheme year.

Paper application forms are being sent out over the next couple of weeks to those farmers and agents who did not apply online last year.

To make it as simple as possible for customers to switch to online claims, all those receiving a paper application will be sent an e-channel personal identification number (PIN) along with a booklet explaining how to register and enrol for the online service.

Farmers wishing to apply on paper who have not received their application pack by the end of March should contact RPA.

All SPS 2013 applications, whether on paper or online must reach RPA by midnight on 15 May to avoid late application penalties. Once you have sent your application you can make certain changes by writing to RPA. These must be received by midnight on 31 May to avoid penalties being applied. Applications and changes can be accepted until midnight on 9 June, however penalties will be applied. Applications received after this date will not be accepted.

You can find out more about SPS 2013 on the RPA website.

For questions about using the SPS online service, claimants should call the RPA’s Customer Service Centre on 0845 603 7777.

Notes to editors:

The Rural Payments Agency’s work helps the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to encourage a thriving farming and food sector and strong rural communities.

RPA makes Common Agricultural Policy support payments, traces livestock and carries out inspections. We manage more than 40 schemes, paying farmers and traders more than 2 billion each year.

To administer such a wide range of schemes and meet EU requirements we manage information on more than two million land parcels.

As more people move to SPS Online there is less demand for centres where paper form can be dropped into RPA. The Agency will be opening Drop-in Centres between March and May, where as well as handing in paper claim forms, claimants will also be able to learn more about the benefits of using SPS online. Details about the location of the centres and the services they will provide are available on the RPA website. There are currently no plans for Drop-in Centres to open next year.

Page published: 26 February 2013