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Single Payment Scheme

The Single Payment Scheme (SPS), part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is the principal agricultural subsidy scheme in the EU. Under the scheme farmers have freedom to farm to the demands of the market as payments are not linked to production, and environmentally friendly farming practices (known as cross compliance) are acknowledged.

Latest news

4 March 2011 - Update on 2010 Single Payment Scheme

1 December 2010Single Payments to be made from today

Key facts and figures

  • SPS payments totalling over £1.5 billion are paid to over 100,000 farmers in England each year.
  • The scheme in England is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Background to the Single Payment Scheme

Who is eligible to apply?

To claim under the SPS you must be a farmer and you must hold SPS entitlements. You must also have an eligible hectare of land for each entitlement you decide to claim payment on and this land must be at your disposal on at least one day (usually 15 May) of the scheme year.

You do not need to undertake any agricultural production in order to receive the SPS payment but, whether or not you produce, you will still need to comply with EU standards covering public, animal and plant health, environmental and animal welfare (known as ‘cross-compliance’) on all your agricultural land (whether you claim on this land or not).

How do I apply?

  • RPA’s SPS Online service allows farmers to:
    • Check and update their contact details.
    • Access, amend and submit pre-populated SPS applications electronically.
    • Track the progress of submitted claims from start to finish, even if they applied using the paper form.
    • View all Claim or Entitlements Statements issued from 2009 onwards.
  • Register now to track your 2010 claim, view your statements and be ready to make your 2011 application using the Make a Claim service.
  • RPA sent out the required Personal Identification Number (PIN) in March 2010.  If you don’t have your PIN or guidance book sent with it you can request a new one.

Further information

Detailed information about the SPS scheme rules, the application process, SPS Online or commercially available farm software packages can be found on the RPA website.

A series of plain english summary guides on SPS is available in the farming section of the Business Link website.

Other parts of the UK

For information on the operation of the scheme in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, contact the appropriate devolved administration.

Relevant legislation and regulations

European Union

The full texts of the Council and Commission Regulations are available from the European Union Reference centre website Eurlex.

United Kingdom

The full texts of legislation relating to the UK can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website.

Page last modified: 4 March 2011