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Agency ready to handle online claims

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

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RURAL Payments Agency officials will be ready to handle online claims from North Devon's farmers and landowners from next week under the Single Payment Scheme.

They have sent out postcards promoting the scheme and said people should expect to receive their starter packs shortly with a PIN and guide on how to use the service.

The agency's operations director Paul Caldwell said: "This first wave of contact – sent to more than 40,000 farmers, landowners and agents across England - is part of the agency's drive to help claimants move their businesses forward into the digital age."

Local drop-in centres are no longer available, so former users will be among those who will get offers of help from the agency.

To use SPS Online for the first time, all claimants need to first register on the Government Gateway's website, www.gateway.gov.uk.

The agency makes Common Agricultural Policy support payments, traces livestock and carries out inspections.

It manages more than 40 schemes on two million land parcels, paying farmers and traders more than £2 billion each year.

It beat its latest SPS targets more than two months early and has now paid £1.61 billion to more than 100,650 English farmers, its best ever performance, and has exceeded the benchmark set by the EU five months early.

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