Public Administration Select Committee: Press Notice

5 March 2010


The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has today published a letter from Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The letter responds to PASC’s request that he should reconsider Defra’s response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report on the administration of the 2005 Single Payment Scheme (SPS), Cold Comfort.

Defra had not originally accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations for financial compensation for farmers who, the Ombudsman found, had suffered injustice as a result of the administrative failings of Defra and the Rural Payments Agency in respect of the SPS for 2005-06. The Secretary of State’s letter of 2 March confirms that Defra now accepts the Ombudsman’s recommendations in full, and announces that the compensation recommended will be paid as soon as possible.

Dr Tony Wright MP, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee, said:

“I very much welcome Defra’s change of heart. I am glad that my committee has been able play a part in securing proper compensation for the farmers in this case, and in ensuring that the Ombudsman’s impartial recommendations are fully taken on board by the Government.”

For further information about the work of the Committee, visit our website at:

Relevant PASC evidence and correspondence is online at:

The Ombudsman’s report, Cold comfort, is online at:


Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chair) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgwater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

Media Enquiries Jessica Bridges-Palmer, 020 7219 0724,

Specific Committee Information: Email: Tel: 020 7219 3284

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