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Delinked Payments: updated guidance

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Transition support
Sheep in foreground and oil rape seed in background. Taken by Alison Day in Devon.
Alison Day

We recently updated the guidance for delinked payments on GOV.UK.   

The guidance sets out whether you’re eligible for delinked payments, how they’re calculated and when you’ll receive them. 

In this post, I’ll provide an overview and links for you to find out more. 

Phasing out Direct Payments: a recap

In England, Direct Payments are being phased out. They are currently paid through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

To phase the payments out fairly, we introduced progressive reductions in 2021. From 2024, we’ll replace BPS in England with ‘delinked payments’. This will simplify the payments as we phase them out. 

As the name suggests, delinked payments remove the link between payments and the land. 

As delinked payments will not be linked to the amount of land you have, you will not need any land or entitlements to receive them. 

Delinked payments will be made between 2024 and 2027, but the payment amount will decrease each year as progressive reductions are applied.

After 2027, these payments will stop completely. 

As we set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, the money freed up from Direct Payments is being redirected straight back into Countryside Stewardship and our other environmental land management schemes. 

Receiving delinked payments 

You don’t need to apply for delinked payments themselves, this will happen automatically. However, there are steps to be aware of: 

Apply for BPS 2023 

To receive delinked payments, you must apply and be eligible for BPS 2023 (apart from some inheritance cases). If you haven’t already done this, the deadline to apply without penalty is Monday 15 May 2023 at 11:59pm.

The absolute deadline is Friday 9 June at 11:59pm, however if you submit your application after Monday 15 May there will be a BPS late application penalty. 

The GOV.UK guidance for BPS 2023 includes: 

  • Dates to note  
  • How to apply online 
  • The information you’ll need 

Preparing to receive delinked payments 

As mentioned, to receive delinked payments, you need to apply and be eligible for BPS 2023 in England, though it’s worth saying that there are exceptions for some inheritance cases, so do check the guidance. 

To receive delinked payments, you also need a ‘reference amount’. This will normally be your average BPS payment in the reference period, which is the BPS 2020 to 2022 scheme years. 

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will send you an information statement showing your reference amount later this year for you to check.

It is important for you to check this when it arrives, because the RPA will use your reference amount when they calculate your delinked payments each year.  

You will be able to transfer some or all of your reference amount to one or more other businesses during a transfer period in early 2024.  

For example, you might want to do this if your business has merged or split, your Single Business Identifier (SBI) has changed, or you have passed some or all your business to someone else since the start of the reference period. 

The GOV.UK guidance for delinked payments page includes: 

  • Eligibility 
  • How reference amounts are calculated 
  • How delinked payments are calculated 
  • Business changes since BPS 2020 
  • When you can transfer out your reference amount to another business. 

 Quick links to help you plan 

You can continue to farm, receive delinked payments and also apply for other schemes. Every grant and ongoing payment can be found on the Funding for Farmers and Land Managers page on GOV.UK. 

A couple of months ago, we published a blog post setting out the grants available in 2023. Just remember to check the dates as we don’t update blog posts. The guidance pages on GOV.UK will always contain the most up-to-date information.  

If you currently receive Direct Payments, you are eligible to receive free business advice through the Future Farming Resilience Fund. Independent providers across England will help you make the right business choices for the future. The list of advisers can be found on GOV.UK. They’re arranged by county and you can contact them directly.

The RPA post about all rural payments, so be sure to visit the Rural Payments blog too

Finally, if you have any questions or comments about our approach, feel free to leave them below.

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  1. Comment by Suzy Russell posted on


    Now that the BPS application deadline has passed, how can farmers who have never been in receipt of BPS apply to receive ELMS payments?

    • Replies to Suzy Russell>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi Suzy,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To be eligible to apply for an SFI agreement you need to have been a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) eligible farmer on either 16 May 2022 or 15 May 2023.

      This will be the case if, on either of these dates, the Single Business Identifier (SBI) that’s applying for an SFI agreement had both of the following:

      • at least 5 hectares (ha) of BPS eligible land – this does not set a minimum eligible area you can enter into an SFI agreement as there is no minimum area for an agreement
      • 5 or more BPS entitlements Your business (SBI) does not need to have applied for BPS in 2022 or 2023, or to have received BPS payments in the past.

      We’re currently only allowing BPS eligible farmers to apply for an SFI agreement. This is because their details are already registered with the RPA. In future, we’ll allow a wider range of farmers to apply. This will not happen before 2024.

      This taken from page 95 of the SFI handbook:

      Best wishes,
      The Team

  2. Comment by Pam Carter posted on

    If I accept someone else's delinked payments do I purchase them or pay for them in some way?

    • Replies to Pam Carter>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi Pam,

      Delinked payments are based on a reference amount. Farmers are able to transfer some or all of their reference amount to someone else during a transfer period which closes at 23:59 on 10 May 2024. You can read the rules for this here:

      The person receiving the reference amount must have claimed, and been eligible, for BPS 2023 in England to receive delinked payments. It is up to the two parties involved in the transfer as to whether the transferee needs to pay the transferor. Special rules apply to inheritance cases.

      Hope that helps,
      The Team


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