The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, that subject to sufficient funding being provided by the UK Government, farmers will continue to receive the Basic Payment Scheme until 2023 and that there will be a two year extension to the Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic scheme contracts.
The Glastir contract extension represents a budget commitment of £66.79m over two years for Welsh farmers. All existing eligible contract holders will be offered an extension via their RPW on-line accounts.
Responding to the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “This is very welcome news for the farming industry. With so much uncertainty around at the moment, this offers some stability for the next two years. A reassurance the industry very much needs, particularly as trade deals with large global agri-exporters are made by the Uk Government.
“The Glastir Advanced scheme extension is also most welcome as contract holders were in the difficult position of not knowing whether they would have any funding from next year onwards.”
Mr Roberts added that it was now up to the UK Government to ensure that the right amount of funding is made available to Wales to ensure that the basic payment scheme can continue as intended.
The FUW recently wrote to Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart MP to remind him that it was disingenuous for the UK Treasury to have included unspent EU funding from the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy funding period in its calculation for the 2021-2022 Welsh agricultural budget - a methodology that led to an allocation which was £95 million less than had been anticipated.
In his letter to Simon Hart MP, Mr Roberts asked him to do his utmost to ensure unspent funding is not once again included in the UK Treasury’s calculation, as this would add to a reduction in funding that is already some £137 million below what had been anticipated based on commitments.
“Following our conversations with Simon Hart MP last year regarding this issue, we are aware that he made strong representations to the UK Treasury regarding the importance of Welsh agricultural funding. However, in light of the UK Treasury’s decision last year to adopt a creative interpretation of the manifesto commitment to “...guarantee the current annual budget...”, we are naturally concerned that they will adopt the same approach in the current review,” said Mr Roberts.