Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
Following my decision to stick to the 15 May deadline for the submission of Single Application Forms (SAFs) in Wales, I am writing to update you on progress.
The total number of SAFs submitted without late penalty was 16,958. (Given that 15 May was a Friday, SAFs could be submitted without late penalty over the weekend of 16-17 May.) 105 SAFs were received during the late penalty period, which ran to 9 June. This is a lower number of late forms than in previous years. The total number of SAFs received by the end of 9 June was 17,063.
The total number of SAFs received is slightly down on previous years. This is due in part to the increase in the minimum land area for Basic Payment Scheme eligibility to five hectares, and follows a pattern of small reductions in recent years. (Please be aware that the final figure may change slightly due to cross-border claims not yet passed to Rural Payments Wales.)
I am pleased that 72% of SAFs submitted were submitted online. This is an excellent achievement, and places us in a good position to move to 100% online next year.
I know this performance has been helped in no small way by the work done by the farming unions and agents, whose staff have worked long hours to help farmers with their forms. For this I am most grateful.
This performance justifies my decision to keep to the 15 May deadline, and will help us to deliver payments as early in the payments period as possible.
I urge any farmers who receive queries from Rural Payments Wales to respond to them as quickly as possible in order to help us get to the point where we can start to make partial payments as early as possible once the EC payment period starts in December 2015. European rules dictate that all controls are completed before we can make any payments. These include the on the spot and remote sensing inspections, and cross-checking all the land claimed and the eligibility of claimants - including checking the new Greening and active farmer rules.