Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths has signalled her intention for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to continue in 2021, subject to the Welsh Government continuing to receive sufficient levels of funding for agricultural support from the next UK government.
The minister was speaking ahead of her visit to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, where last year she announced BPS would continue unchanged in 2020 to provide certainty and to transition smoothly to a new Land Management Programme. Since then, the date of the UK’s departure from the EU has been delayed and plans to transition from EU Common Agricultural Policy schemes to a new Land Management Programme have been paused.
Although unable to provide commitments around the level of funding, in order to provide assurances to farmers and assist them to plan ahead, the Minister has indicated she intends to continue a form of the BPS scheme for a further year. This means the earliest any multiyear, managed transition to the new, targeted system of farm support can commence will be 2022.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“In light of the continuing uncertainty, I am announcing my intention to extend the Basic Payment Scheme to 2021, subject to sufficient funding being provided by the next UK government for agricultural support.
“Looking further ahead, I intend to continue to support farmers post Brexit but in a smarter way. These will be significant changes for the sector and are entirely dependent on when the UK leaves the European Union and the UK government providing the same levels of funding to Wales – neither of which have yet been confirmed.”
Lesley Griffiths also reminded farmers to apply for the BPS Support Scheme, in place for 2019, to ensure most of Wales’ farm businesses receive the majority of their full BPS claim value when the payment window opens. The minister confirmed over 75% of farmers (almost 12,000) will receive their full BPS 2019 payment on Day 1 while businesses that do not receive their full payment, and have applied for the BPS Support scheme, will receive up to 90% of their BPS 2019 claim value.
The minister added:
“Over the course of 2019, preparing Wales’ farmers for the possibility of a No-Deal Brexit has been my top priority. This means this year we will be unable to deliver the same level of full BPS day 1 payments as achieved in previous years. I have, therefore, introduced the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Support Scheme for 2019 claimants. As long as farmers have applied for the Support scheme, they will receive the majority of their BPS payment claim value from 9 December.
“I hope this provides farmers with some certainty and I would strongly advise those that haven’t submitted an application to do so before the 29 November deadline.