i) 95% of Welsh BPS claimants receive payment during first week
Minister Lesley Griffiths recently announced that more than 94.6% of Welsh Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applicants received either their full 2020 BPS payment or a BPS support payment in the first week of the payment window (1-7 December) the equivalent of more than £219.3 million to 14,900 claimants.
Payments Agencies in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland announced similar success, with Northern Ireland’s payment window beginning as early as 16 October.
The FUW has welcomed the announcement and thanked all those Welsh Government staff involved in the processing of payments in a difficult year - payments which provide an essential injection of funds into rural businesses and communities.
ii) UK signs trade deals with Singapore and Vietnam
The Singapore continuity trade agreement will allow UK businesses to continue to benefit from the existing (EU-Singapore) trading relationship, worth £17.6 billion in 2019, and the UK Government hopes the deal will bring the UK closer to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trading agreement across 11 Pacific Countries.
There are also plans to launch negotiations for a Digital Economy Agreement, the first between Singapore and a European Country if signed.
An agreement with Vietnam will see 99% of tariffs removed after seven years including machinery, one of the key exports to Vietnam.
iii) GB glyphosate extension to end of 2025 is likely
The widely used herbicide glyphosate was set to expire across the EU on 15 December 2022. However, it is believed that all active substances that are due to expire between 2021 and 2023 will be granted a three-year extension under the new GB pesticides regulations.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will still retain the power to review active substances at any time should concerns to human or environment health be raised. The extension will not apply in Northern Ireland due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.