BPS protected, but Welsh farmers face steep budget cuts elsewhere

Welsh farmers are set to receive the same Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money in 2024 as they have for each of the past four years, but other support is likely to suffer as the Cardiff government earmarks rural spending for the biggest cuts in its 2024-25 budget.

A statement from Welsh rural affairs minister Lesley Griffith on Tuesday 19 December confirmed that the total BPS budget will be maintained at £238m for 2024 – the last year before Wales starts transitioning towards a new Sustainable Farming Scheme, with the BPS being phased out.

See also: Strong public backing for farm support spending, survey reveals

The total draft rural affairs budget for 2024-25 is set at £420m – more than 10% lower than in the current financial year.

“We have listened to farmers and their representatives about the importance of providing an element of stability in the last year before the introduction of SFS,” said Ms Griffiths.

“This is why I have prioritised maintaining the BPS ceiling at £238m for 2024. Given the significant pressures across Welsh government budgets, this was extremely challenging.”

Ms Griffiths added that the BPS payments farmers receive in 2024 will serve as the index on which payments will be made during the transition to the SFS.

The minister added that, given the “continued failure of the UK government to adjust funding levels to deal with rising costs”, painful decisions had had to be made in other areas of rural spending.


According to the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW), this will amount to a 13% cut in the overall rural affairs budget – or £62m less than this year – the biggest drop facing any sector as the government seeks to prop up funding for the NHS and core local government services.

FUW president Ian Rickman said this was a cause for concern, suggesting that had the country’s original allocation of CAP spending kept pace with inflation since Brexit, the Welsh rural budget would now be worth £440m.

 “At a time when Welsh farmers face huge uncertainty around future farm support, it’s of paramount importance that the Welsh government recognises the sustainable food our farmers produce and the contributions they make to the environment and wider rural economy when allocating funds to the rural affairs portfolio,” he said.

NFU Cymru president Aled Jones shared these concerns, saying the cuts would have implications for the delivery of programmes within the minister’s portfolio.

As yet, there is no clarity on where the knife might fall, though the new Habitat Wales scheme – the replacement for Glastir – is one possibility.

Both unions welcomed the decision to maintain BPS spending at current levels for one more year.

“With costs on farm some 40% higher than they were in 2020, the BPS is as important as it has ever been in providing stability to all farming sectors,” said Mr Jones.

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