Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
Glastir area payments commenced on 29 January 2018 and I am pleased to update Members of the significant progress made to process more than 77% of claims to farm businesses. This represents a significant improvement compared with last year’s day one payment performance.
In addition, 88% of the Glastir capital works claims received have also been processed. Rural Payments Wales (RPW) continue to encourage and remind farm businesses to submit their capital works claims as soon as possible. There are a significant amount of claims still expected by the deadline of 28 February and I urge all farm businesses to ensure claims are completed and submitted before the deadlines. Late claims cannot be accepted.
The BPS payment window opened on 1 December and over 91% of claims were paid on the first day. Rural Payments Wales has, once again, out performed the Rural Payments Agency and other administrations, paying a higher percentage of BPS claims on day one of the payment window.
In parallel with the improved Glastir area payment performance, the BPS performance continues to progress with over 97% paid to date. Over £223m has been paid into the bank accounts of over 15,000 Welsh farmers and businesses.
RPW aims to pay as many claims as soon as possible during European Commission (EC) payment windows. However, EC regulations governing the scheme require inspections to be fully completed, which include the cross checking of land and updating of our mapping system, before any payment can be made.
As with previous years, not all farm businesses will have received their Glastir and BPS payment on the first day of the payment window. My officials are working hard to process the remaining inspection findings as quickly as possible and I expect all but the most complex claims to be paid under both the Glastir and BPS schemes by the end of April 2018.
The Single Application Form (SAF) for 2018 will be available on RPW online from 5 March 2018 and must be submitted by 15 May 2018.
If a farm business does not receive its 2017 inspection findings by the end of February, RPW will write to them explaining how they should complete their SAF 2018.
RPW will be operating preliminary checks again this year, to highlight any potential errors and give farm business the opportunity to amend their declaration and avoid potential penalties.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, including industry stakeholders, who have worked in conjunction with my officials to continually develop RPW online, and contributed towards the improved 2017 Glastir and BPS payment performance.