NFU Cymru seeks early BPS commitment from Minister

NFU Cymru has called on the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to make an early commitment to maintain the Basic Payment Scheme in Wales for 2021.

Speaking after the meeting with Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths AM last week, NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “The events in Westminster these last few days mean that our future relationship with the EU remains as uncertain as it has ever been, with the prospect of a general election in the not too distant future, this means further political upheaval, and by extension more uncertainty.

The fact that the UK Government’s Agriculture Bill was not carried forward when parliament was prorogued means that the intended legal basis for setting Welsh agricultural policy has now also disappeared, and we are now essentially back to square one.

“At the end of last year, the Welsh Government announced that the Basic Payment Scheme would remain unchanged in 2020; we welcomed that announcement as it offered Welsh farming some stability at a critical time.”

Davies explained he considered a disorderly Brexit to still be a very “live possibility”.

“There are many factors completely outside of our control which considered individually or collectively would have a very detrimental impact on Welsh agriculture,” he said.

“NFU Cymru is very much of the view that this calls for a cautious and restrained approach from the Welsh Government when it comes to developing future agricultural policy.

We would urge the Welsh Government to take its time and not to hasten to move away from the present arrangements until we have a far clearer picture of the sort of future trading relationship we will have with the EU-27.

“We fully respect that the timing and nature of Brexit, the general election and the fate of the Agriculture Bill are all outside the hands of Welsh Government, but what we do ask for is the support of Welsh Government on the areas that sit within its remit.”