NFU Cymru has welcomed the news that over 94.6 per cent of Welsh farm businesses will have received either their full Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment or a BPS Support payment during the first week of the 2020 payment window.
The news came in a written statement issued by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS yesterday, Wednesday 9 December.
Responding to the statement, John Davies NFU Cymru President said: “Last week I wrote to the Minister to thank her and the whole team within Rural Payments Wales (RPW) for all their hard work in ensuring that 81 per cent of BPS payments were made on the first day of the payment window. I am pleased we now know that nearly 95 per cent of businesses will have received either the full BPS payment or the BPS support payment within the first week of the payment window opening. This is good news and I now very much hope that the remaining payments can be made as soon as possible.
“The delivery of the BPS is a great example of how government and NFU Cymru can work together. This is exemplified through the co-design process used in developing and implementing the RPW online system, and through the support that our staff and the Farm Liaison Service collaboratively provide in supporting many thousands of businesses with completion of the Single Application Form.
“The value of the BPS to society has shown to be more important than ever in 2020. The stability that the support provides has helped to ensure that Welsh farmers have been able to continue delivering high quality, fully traceable and affordable food to all in society, throughout a period when our supply chains have, and continue to, face unprecedented challenges.
“The BPS not only underpins food production in Wales, but the stability that it also provides to Welsh farming businesses ensures that they are then able to support a wide range of ancillary businesses in their communities. Our recent Vision for Welsh Upland Farming survey highlighted this with a third of respondents stating that their farm supports between 21 and 50 businesses and one in ten saying that they support over 50.
“The £243 million provided through the BPS secures the maintenance and enhancement of the £1.6 billion annual aggregate output of Welsh agriculture and the employment of around 80,000 people in the food and farming priority sector.
“In light of the UK Government’s recent Comprehensive Spending Review and the apparent shortfall of £95 million in funding to Wales, I have met with and written to our Minister to ask that Welsh Government provide certainty and stability to Welsh farming and commit to maintaining the BPS at current funding levels for 2021.
“I very much welcome that the Minister in her written statement has highlighted her priority of supporting businesses through an extremely difficult year. Covid-19 continues to impact on all of us as does Brexit uncertainty. We also know that even if a Brexit deal is secured, our products will be subject to significant extra costs and potential delays when it comes to accessing our biggest export market, and so 2021 looks set to be no less difficult and challenging. I ask that the Minister continues to deliver on her priority and will commit to continuing to support Welsh farming, through fully funding the Basic Payment Scheme for 2021.'