Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
I would like to update Assembly Members of the progress we have made with CAP Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.
As of 31st March we had made substantial part-payments to 95% of eligible farm businesses in Wales. Of those farm businesses that have yet to receive a part-payment, the vast majority are due to the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) in England experiencing considerable operational difficulties, which has meant we are still waiting for useable cross-border data. My officials continue to press RPA for the detailed information that will allow the Welsh Government to pay the relevant farm businesses affected. We will be writing this week to any farm businesses that had not received a part-payment by the end of March, setting out the reasons for this.
We have met the European Commission’s 1st April 2016 deadline to establish total BPS entitlement values. We can now pay final instalments to those farm businesses that received a BPS part-payment, and full payments to the small number yet to receive any payment.
I am pleased to report that by the end of this week (8th April), we will have paid over three-quarters of eligible farm businesses their final, balance BPS payment. We will continue to process the remaining claims throughout April, and all but a very small number of complex BPS cases will have been paid, in full, by the end of this month.
Our BPS performance remains GB leading.
In relation to CAP Single Application Form (SAF) 2016 applications, over 3,500 farm businesses are already making full use of RPW Online. In doing so, they benefit from built-in validation checks during completion of the SAF (with error and information messages given where appropriate as entries are made), access to farm maps, and the ability to make changes to the map which links to the field data in the application. 389 farmers have taken advantage of Digital Assistance appointments with Rural Payments Wales officials in our Regional Offices. Initial feedback from those who have made use of SAF Online or our Digital Assistance support has been very positive. Farmers can make Digital Assistance appointments by telephoning the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004. The deadline for SAF 2016 is 16th May.