The Government will hear today why only a fraction of England's 120,000 farmers have received vital annual payments despite promises the majority would be paid by the end of the month.

Ministers will receive a report from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on how it will get back on track to deliver the single farm payments to farmers a week after its chief executive Johnston McNeill was sacked over the furore.

Only eight per cent of farmers have been paid despite promises by Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett that the majority would receive the much-needed cash by the end of the March.

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Farmers in the West Midlands have expressed their desperation at the situation, with many receiving what they believe to be the wrong entitlements.

While they are still waiting for this year's payments, they will have to start applying for next year's entitlement in the next few weeks.

Andrew Richards, senior food and farming adviser at NFU West Midlands, said it w as an unacceptable situation.

He said: "I think the acting chief executive has a big task in front of him because there is absolute chaos and pandemonium out in the countryside at the moment because they have issued entitlement state-ments, a number of which have not been validated and there are those who have no idea whether they are correct.

"I spoke to a farmer this morning and his reaction sums up our feeling. He had received an entitlement statement with no explanation how it was calculated. He received 117 hectares short of what he was expecting and while there is all this paper-chasing, he has got to begin filling in forms for next year.

"Quite a lot are saying they don't know whether they are wrong because they don't know how they have been calculated. These statements set out what they will get for the next six years."

The payments have been introduced as part of Common Agricultural Policy reforms, giving payment to farmers according to the amount of land they farm, rather than how much they produce.

Farmers have already had to contend with a delay in payments when the Govern-ment first moved the original deadline from December to February due to IT problems at the RPA. But ongoing problems have left them tackling a backlog, forcing them to rely on loans to stay afloat.

Mrs Beckett last week called for "urgent action" over the administration of farm subsidies and described it as an "unacceptable situation".

She said there were "structural issues" at the RPA and has set up a fundamental review of the agency, to look at its current and future functions and the effectiveness of its relationship with Defra.

A spokesman for the RPA said more than 10,000 payments (£74.5 million of the £300 million) had been given to farmers.

He added: "The whole issue is based on the way payments are processed, looking at whether we can speed that up and if we can possibly target certain claimants."

Leominster MP Bill Wiggin, shadow Agriculture Minister, said: "What is sad about this tragedy is that farmers are borrowing money to fund their business based on a Government promise and the agency is letting them down."