With less than a week before the deadline for Single Payment Scheme 2014 applications, the Rural Payments Agency has announced extended opening hours for its call centre this weekend.
Farmers and agents with last-minute queries about their application will now be able to call the customer service centre (0845 6037777) between 9am to 1pm today and tomorrow.
The RPA revealed that nearly 49,000 of the more than 70,000 total SPS submissions received to date have been made online.
More than a quarter of these online submissions (12,283) have been made by farmers and agents using the online service for the first time.
Wednesday was the busiest day for the online service so far with 3,161 submissions made on that day alone.
Customer service director Justin Chamberlain said: “Extended opening hours this weekend for our call centre is just one of the ways we are working to offer the best service possible to our customers.
“As in previous years, some applications remain in progress on the system and these applicants are urged to get back online and finish their claim.
“As a further demonstration of our commitment to good customer service, the RPA will be in touch with as many as possible of these customers over the coming days to remind them to finalise and submit their claims.”
All SPS applications, whether online or on paper, must reach the RPA by midnight on May 15 to avoid late application penalties. Once the application has been sent, certain changes can be made online (or by writing to or emailing the Agency). These must be received by midnight on June 2 to avoid penalties.
Applications and changes can be made until midnight on June 9, however penalties will be applied. Applications received after June 9 will not be accepted.