Written Statement - Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Payment update

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WRITTEN STATEMENT
BY
THE WELSH GOVERNMENT
TITLE
Written Statement - Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Payment update
DATE
13 January 2016
BY
Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
Following my announcement at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, more than half
of Welsh farm businesses received their BPS part payment (approximately
80% of the individual farm businesses total payment) during the first week of
the 7 month payment window (1 Dec 2015 – 30 June 2016). I am pleased to
update Members that 67% of farm businesses received their BPS part
payment during December 2015.
We have now paid 70% of our farm businesses, this meets our published
target and compares very favourably with the position in England and
Scotland. Rural Payments Wales remains on track to pay the vast majority of
farmers in the coming weeks. More complex cases will take longer to pay.
Farmers who have not been paid by the end of January will be written to in
order to update them on progress, and advise them when they are likely to
receive payment. The final instalments (20%) will be made in April in line with
our published target.
Given the complexities of implementing the new scheme, with the challenges
we faced along the way, I am sure that Members will agree that this is an
excellent achievement.
To help us maintain this GB-leading performance I must ask that farmers
continue to resist the temptation to phone the Customer Contact Centre
chasing payment, as this will divert staff from processing claims and therefore
delay payments. That is not something that anybody - including the farmers
involved - would wish to see happen. If we need information from farmers to
process their claim we will get in touch swiftly. However, if Members are
aware of constituents that are genuinely suffering significant financial
hardship, please bring these cases to my attention.
I am pleased to inform you that, in order to help with the handling of farmer
queries and concerns regarding the mapping of trees and other ineligible
areas, I have introduced a simplified stage 1 appeal process. Farmers simply
need to message Rural Payments Wales online, or write/email with their CRN,
Trading Title and the Field references, and staff will use this information to
carry out an urgent check and then respond quickly to the query.
I trust that farmers will use this facility sensibly and proportionately, and not
divert our staff unnecessarily from the important business of making the
remaining part-payments.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the very many people involved,
including the Farmers Union of Wales, National Farmers Union Cymru,
Country Land and Business Association Cymru, agents and others, who have
worked tirelessly and in partnership with my own officials during the SAF
period and beyond to deliver such a strong outcome in the first and somewhat
challenging year of the completely new Basic Payment Scheme.
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