BPS loan support for Welsh farm businesses announced

A new loan facility to help Welsh farmers who won’t receive their Basic Payment on day one has been announced by Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.

The existing Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment window of December 2, 2019, until June 30, 2020, will be maintained, whilst a BPS Loan Scheme for farmers who don’t receive their first payment on that date will also be provided.

The loan for farmers who do not receive their BPS payment will be worth up to 90% of the claim value.

It is hoped the BPS payment and loan scheme will provide certainty to farmers concerned about cash flow as winter and the UK’s exit from the European Union approach.

Following stakeholder and industry feedback, the loan scheme will also be renamed the ‘BPS 2019 Support Scheme’.

Minister Griffiths said: “With uncertainty surrounding the impact of Brexit we are determined to support farmers in every way we can and ensure they can cope with the challenges they face in the upcoming months.

With the UK edging ever closer to leaving the EU without a deal it is vital we prepare and provide as much assistance as possible to Welsh farmers.

“I have made it a priority to ensure we plan sensibly and have been working with our partners, farming unions, charities and many others to ensure our industry is in the best possible position to deal with Brexit.

“This payment window and support scheme should help provide some assurances to farmers. It will help them plan their finances in the longterm and manage their immediate cash flow too.”

The support scheme will be available to all but will be only paid to farm businesses who opt-in, and only if their BPS claim is not ready on the first day of the payment window.

NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “Farmers are currently operating in a time of great uncertainty – not least because of Brexit and impacts to commodity prices.

The very real prospect of a ‘No-deal’ Brexit will be highly concerning to farmers across Wales, who will rightly be worried about cash flow over the coming months in light of circumstances outside of their control.

“Therefore, we welcome the Minister’s move to take action to provide much-needed assurances to the farming sector at this time.”