12. We are deeply unimpressed by the failure of
Defra and the RPA to plan properly for the process of administering
payments under the Single Payment Scheme. This has led to English
farmers being disadvantaged in comparison with those in other
parts of the UK, who have already received a partial interim payment.
We were also dismayed at the complacency of the Minister, who
refused to admit that any mistakes had been made or that anything
could have been done differently to avoid the problems.
13. Most significantly, we were staggered that,
so close to the proposed date for making payments, and nearly
a year after that date was announced by the RPA, the Minister
could still not give us a definitive statement about when payments
would be made, or whether they would be full or partial payments.
14. We recommend that Ministers now make a definitive
announcement on the timing and nature of Single Farm Payments
in England. We further recommend that, if this announcement includes
the making of interim partial payments, or further delays, then
it should be made in the form of an oral statement by a Minister
to the House.