Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs
I want to update Members of the Senedd of the number of BPS payments made during the first week of the 2020 payment window.
Over 94.6% of Welsh farm businesses will have received either their full BPS payment or a BPS Support payment, with over £219.3m being paid to more than 14,900 claimants.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been my priority to support businesses through what has been an extremely difficult year.
In direct response to the pandemic, I took the opportunity to extend the Single Application Form (SAF) submission deadline to 15 June, giving farm businesses an extra month to submit their claim, given our limited ability to offer the usual digital support. I also again introduced the BPS Support Scheme to provide some certainty and help farm businesses manage their cash flow whilst their BPS claims are being processed.
Despite this extended SAF deadline, officials working from home for the majority of the year and continuing to prepare for the end of the EU exit transition period with the BPS simplification consultation, I am pleased Rural Payments Wales (RPW) has once again paid an impressive number of BPS claims. In these challenging circumstances the number of payments made during the first week of the payment window has exceeded those made last year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, including industry stakeholders, who have worked throughout this most difficult of years to support farm businesses in different ways and to enable us to continue to deliver the excellent number of BPS payments to Welsh farm businesses so early in the payment window.
My officials are continuing to work hard to process the remaining outstanding BPS 2020 claims as soon as possible. I expect all but the most complex cases to be completed by 30 June 2021.