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Rural Payments Agency

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 7th November 2006.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 3:33 pm, 7th November 2006

The right hon. Gentleman asks a question of me that I have obviously asked myself before coming to the House to make this statement. The best way to answer him is to say that both the chief executive of the RPA and I will use the words "bankable" or "certainty" when the money is in farmers' bank accounts. Equally, my judgment, the affirmation that I have given and the clear timetable that I have set out today—I referred to the middle of February and the three weeks thereafter—is based on one thing that we do know from last year, which is that, once the button is pushed to deliver partial payments, it can be done. The chief executive of the RPA has given Lord Rooker and me a clear explanation of how that can and will be done. I am impressed by the way in which he has gone about his job since his appointment in July. He is bringing a rigorous and conservative approach to the issue. He is certainly not making excessive or wild claims. He is determined to make sure that his delivery keeps up with his promises and I am impressed by his work so far.