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Gildernew announces December 2008 targets for SFP payments exceeded

15 January, 2009

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has announced that over 700 additional farmers received their Single Farm Payment in December 2008 than in December 2007.

The target was to complete 80% of payments for receipt before Christmas and 82% for receipt by the end of December. These targets were exceeded with 81.6% of farmers receiving their payment before Christmas and 83.4% by the end of December.

Announcing the progress, the minister said:

"735 more farmers were paid in December than in the same period in 2007. This further increase means that over the last two years, the number of farmers paid in December has increased by over 2,390. The £196million paid in December demonstrates our continuing commitment to helping local farm businesses."

Commenting on the claims not yet finalised, the minister said:

"All cases must be assessed in accordance with the EU rules and my department is taking all possible steps to ensure the remaining assessments are completed at the earliest possible date. The target is to finalise 87% of payments by 31 January 2009."

The minister reminded farmers that the department is required to make payments electronically into bank accounts.

She said:

"Over 500 farm businesses could be paid promptly but they have not yet provided their bank account details to my department. To enable us to maximise the number of Single Farm Payments, any farm business that has not yet provided their UK bank account, building society or credit union account details to my department should do so immediately to enable any payment which may be due to them to be processed."

"To help those farmers who do not have a bank account receive their grant/subsidy entitlement, I secured the facility that they can have their payment paid into the credit union of their choice, provided their chosen credit union operates a bank account."

To allow the department to maximise the number of payments during January, farmers are asked to phone Orchard House only if absolutely necessary. Where it is necessary to contact Orchard House, callers should bear in mind that phone lines may be busy at peak periods.

Targets for the payments the Department expects to process during February and March will be announced before the end of January.

Note to Editors

  1. The payment timetable for December 2008 and January 2009 was announced in Press Notice 266/ 2008 on 18 November 2008.
  2. Farmers receive payment advice notes detailing how their Single Farm Payment has been calculated a few days before the payment is paid into their bank accounts.

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