Wales announces BPS and other key schemes to roll on to 2023

Wales has announced it intends to extend the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) until 2023, subject to confirmation there will be sufficient funding provided by the UK government.

The Welsh government has also committed £66m to allow the extension of Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic contracts until December 2023.

An additional £7m will be used to extend the Farming Connect advice programme through to March 2023.

See also: Welsh rural affairs minister makes 2022 funding pledge

Welsh rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths warned that “significant and important change was coming”, but she said it was the intention for BPS to continue until 2023, subject to the outcome of the UK government’s comprehensive spending review.

A Welsh government spokesperson clarified that continuing the scheme until 2023 meant that farmers would make a claim in 2023, with those eligible receiving their payment later that year.

Ms Griffiths said more than 1.3m hectares of Welsh agricultural land was currently under a Glastir contract, so the extension of contracts would help to deliver positive environmental outcomes until Wales transitioned to the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

All existing eligible contract holders will be offered an extension via their Rural Payment Wales (RPW) online accounts.

The funding for Farming Connect would enable important business support to be continued to be offered to farmers and foresters, she said.

“This will ensure support for a more professional, profitable and resilient land-based sector, as we deal with multiple challenges and opportunities, including reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and the ever-changing trading environment for the industry.

“From visiting farms across the length and breadth of Wales, I have seen first-hand the positive effect Farming Connect has on the livelihoods of our farmers, and I look forward to seeing more benefit thanks to today’s announcement.”

‘Breathing space’

NFU Cymru president John Davies welcomed the announcement, which he said would provide stability to Welsh farming at a time of significant upheaval.

“We now look to the UK government through the upcoming comprehensive spending review to provide the funding commitments required to ensure that our minister can implement her policy intention to maintain the BPS at current funding levels for the next two years.”

Mr Davies said that by setting out the intention to maintain both BPS and Glastir contracts for the next two years, the minister had also given the government and policymakers breathing space to properly assess future support policies in Wales.

“These policies need to support the industry to deliver our ambition to produce the most climate-friendly food in the world, against a backdrop of an environment where our nature is thriving.

“Those policies must also ensure that Welsh farming families continue to be at the heart of thriving rural communities.”

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