The Welsh government has chosen to stick to the 15 May cut-off for Single Application Forms (SAF) because it fears extending the deadline could delay making payments to farmers.
In a statement the Welsh government said it would not follow England in taking up the EU Commission’s offer to extend the CAP payment application window to 15 June.
See also: Guidance for SAF claims in Wales
Deputy farm minister Rebecca Evans said maintaining farmers’ cashflow was central to the decision as was protecting the Rural Development Plan budget.
Delays in the SAF process would have a knock-on impact on part payments under the Basic Payment Scheme and to payments on existing land-based rural development schemes, said the deputy minister.
“I am very aware of the importance of cashflow for farmers and therefore I am not planning to take up the option to extend the deadline as it will delay the start of part payments to all claimants,’’ she said.
“I have weighed up all options available to us and, as a result, have decided the SAF deadline in Wales will remain at 15 May.’’
As the funding for the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013 ends on 31 December 2015, any funding not used by this deadline would have to be handed back to the European Commission and lost to Wales.
Any outstanding payments would then need to be funded from the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 thereby reducing the fund for new projects.
In contrast to England, the Rural Payments Wales Online application process seems to be performing well since it went live in February. Over 1,400 SAFs have so far been submitted, more than double that received at this point last year.