Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
I am pleased to update Members of the excellent progress made during the first week of the BPS 2018 payment window.
Over 95% of farm businesses have been paid either their BPS claims or BPS loan applications, and over £213m has been paid into the bank accounts of more than 14,700 Welsh farm businesses.
The BPS 2018 payment window opened on 3 December, and will run until 30 June 2019.
This year, in response to the exceptionally hot and dry weather during the summer, I introduced a BPS loan scheme to help farm businesses manage their cash flow and plan their finances, whilst their BPS claims were being processed. The BPS loan application window closed on 30 November. The loan payment, based on 70% of the anticipated BPS 2018 payment value, has seen an additional £23.1m paid to over 1,200 farm businesses.
Rural Payments Wales has also received cross border data from the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) in England, to allow the Welsh Government to process 2018 BPS claims to over three quarters of our Welsh cross border farmers. This is a significant improvement on previous years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, including industry stakeholders, who have worked in conjunction with my officials to introduce the BPS loan scheme and contributed to an excellent payment performance once again this year.
My officials are continuing to work hard on processing the remaining BPS claims as soon as possible, and will continue to press the RPA for the remaining cross border data.
I expect all but the most complex cases to be completed before the payment window closes on 30 June 2019.