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Single Payment Scheme, Basic Payment Scheme and the transfer window

23 September 2014

Farmers are reminded that Single Payment Scheme entitlements become Basic Payment Scheme entitlements on 1 January 2015.

Whilst the deadline for the transfer of entitlements is usually 2 April, if you want the recipient to be able to claim them for that calendar year note that the rules are slightly different during this transitional period.

If you want to transfer your SPS entitlements whilst they are still SPS entitlements, then the Rural Payments Agency must receive your completed RLE1 form by midnight on 21 October 2014. There is a proviso, which is that the effective date of the transfer for the purposes of the form must be on or before 3 December 2014.

Once we are past 21 October, the transfer window will close. Your SPS entitlements will convert to BPS entitlements on 1 January 2015 and the transfer window will subsequently re-open on an unspecified date around the middle of January next year.

It is very important that you bear these dates in mind if over the next three months you are proposing to buy or sell either entitlements alone, or land with entitlements. You should also recognise that once the transfer window opens again the future transfer of BPS entitlements may be administratively more cumbersome. Although the likelihood is that RLE1 forms will still be used, the RPA intends to operate with its new IT system. History tells us that these take a while to ‘bed in’.

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Adam Hale BA (Hons), TEP, FALA
Senior associate, solicitor
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