Welsh government cuts rural budget

The Welsh Government has cut its rural budget for 2012-13 by £1.5m.

The total draft budget for Rural Affairs for 2012-13 is £90.8m, compared to the last settlement of £92.3.

Despite the cut, Wales’ deputy farming minister, Alun Davies, said that he would maintain funding at last year’s level to administer the Single Payment Scheme, to run the Young Entrants’ Support Scheme and on delivering the Rural Development Plan.

Mr Davies admitted that the UK government budget settlement meant that a reduction in the rural affairs budget was inevitable.

However he believed the draft budget had allowed him to maintain support for Wales’ rural communities and economy by focusing expenditure in key areas.

“Although the £795m Rural Development Plan 2007-13 is a slight decrease compared to last year, I am confident the reduction will not affect the delivery of the various strands of the plan,” said Mr Davies. “It will allow us to continue with funding to farmers under schemes to protect and enhance the countryside; processing and marketing grants to ensure we get the best possible financial return for our produce and funding to improve the quality of life for rural communities.”

He said it was vital to continue with a significant level of investment in the IT systems that administer the Single Farm Payment.

“It is vital that we deliver this scheme successfully and ensure that farmers receive accurate payments on time,” he added.

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