Basic Payment Scheme (England)
Basic Payment Scheme (England)

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Basic Payment Scheme (England)
  • Introduction
  • Eligibility
  • Eligible land
  • BPS entitlements
  • Cross compliance
  • Digressivity
  • Young farmer payment
  • National reserve of entitlements
  • Solar panels
  • more

Brexit: The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for the schemes providing for agricultural subsidies in England and Wales, which will no longer be derived from the EU Common Agricultural Policy. We will introduce content to address the new regimes once the relevant legislation (including the Agriculture Bill) has been enacted.


Under Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), farmers receive direct subsidy payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which started in 2015. The BPS replaced the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

The BPS, which is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in England, involves three compulsory direct payments:

  1. a ‘basic’ BPS payment

  2. a greening payment (accounting for 30% of the total BPS amount received by a farmer)

  3. a top-up payment for young farmers


A farmer qualifies for BPS if they:

  1. have at least five hectares of ‘eligible’ land

  2. have at least five BPS entitlements

As originally introduced, the scheme also required that the applicant should satisfy the ‘active farmer’ test. This test required the applicant to meet certain criteria regarding their agricultural activity and the agricultural area which they farmed. However, the criteria were difficult to apply in practice. In early 2018, DEFRA announced that the test would no longer apply in England for the 2018 claim year and beyond.