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Number of BPS payments yet to be paid

Payments have slowed to a trickle: Stephen James, NFU
Payments have slowed to a trickle: Stephen James, NFU

WITH SIGNIFICANT numbers of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and agri-environment payments still outstanding, NFU Cymru warns the Welsh Government that patience is wearing extremely thin amongst the farming community.

Stephen James, NFU Cymru President said: “Nearly five months into the payment window I am extremely concerned that hundreds of farmers across Wales have yet to receive their BPS part payment and this is unacceptable especially when you consider that Welsh Government made the decision last year to introduce part payments in an effort to ensure timely delivery of the new Basic Payment Scheme.

“I am particularly concerned for our cross border farmers who have not yet been paid as a result of the failure of the paying agencies in England and Wales to effectively share data.

“Farmers are struggling following a difficult winter, costs have mounted as a result of record rainfall and commodity prices remain depressed, meaning cash flow is a major issue on all farms.

“Whilst we praised Welsh Government for making an excellent start with BPS payments last December, the weekly trickle of payments we have seen so far in 2016 has been disappointing.

“Farmers are entering the critical period of 2016 Single Application form (SAF) completion with many not knowing what has happened with their 2015 application.

“For those not paid, Welsh Government will now have had the 2015 application form for nearly 11 months, surely this is long enough to validate an application form.

“Welsh Government must act now and ensure that this situation is brought to a conclusion and we hope those yet to receive their BPS are paid immediately and that balance payments to all are made promptly in April.”

NFU Cymru is also concerned at the slow delivery of agri-environment payments, Stephen James said: “Glastir payments are normally made from November each year but here we are six months later with a significant proportion of farmers yet to receive agri-environment support.

“Many farmers who will have changed farming practices and altered stocking levels in order to enter Glastir are now, in effect, being penalised as a result of a failure of Welsh Government delivery.”

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Stephen James concluded: “We look to Welsh Government to bring this long running saga to a swift conclusion and ensure that the remaining BPS and agri-environment payments are paid without further delay. Welsh Government needs to ensure that any queries and issues are resolved as a matter of urgency to ensure that the delayed validation of the 2015 application does not impact on the ability to complete the 2016 application ahead of the 16 May 2016 deadline.”