FUW welcomes Welsh Government direct payment ceiling announcement

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement of a direct payment ceiling that will ensure Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments in 2021 remain at the same level as in 2020.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, announced on Monday (21 December) a total direct payment ceiling of £238 million for the 2021 BPS.

Speaking after the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We very much welcome the Minister’s confirmation that she intends to provide financial security for farming families and the tens of thousands of rural businesses they support at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.”

Mr Roberts said that the uncertainty over whether a trade deal would be reached with the EU, the imminent non-tariff barriers and costs associated with the end of the Withdrawal Period and the impacts of the pandemic were already weighing heavily on farmers minds.

Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales have predicted that non-tariff barriers will add costs for exporters of between 4% and 8% after 31st December, while more than one hundred FUW members who attended a Brexit webinar on Thursday 17th December heard experts from the food industry highlight that Export Health Certificates alone would cost Welsh businesses tens of millions, and that such costs were likely to be passed up the supply chain to producers.

“Such costs will hit the food and farming industries irrespective of whether we have a UK-EU trade deal. If there is no deal this is the worst case scenario, since tariffs on our exports will devalue them by tens of percent - making the BPS even more essential for farm business survival in the next year.”

In making the announcement, Lesley Griffiths acknowledged that her decision would “...provide the agricultural sector with much needed stability in very turbulent times.”