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Welsh farmers 'pushed to the brink' over BPS delays claims AM

The Welsh Government is being pressed to ’sort out’ delays in Basic Payment Scheme payments to crisis hit farmers said to be in ’significant distress’.
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The Welsh Government said it had paid the majority of part payments
The Welsh Government said it had paid the majority of part payments

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, raised the growing concerns in the Welsh Assembly this week.

 

She claims to have been contacted by volunteers of the Farming Community Network (FCN) who say they have seen a large number of farmers in significant distress as a result of delays in Basic Payment Scheme payments.

 

While payments were due in early December, she said many farmers in her Brecon and Radnorshire constituency had yet to receive them’.

 

However, while FCN leaders said some farmers could be experiencing problems, there was nothing to suggest things were out of the ordinary (see bottom of the article).

 

Ms Williams said: “The Welsh Government is causing huge distress to many farmers in Brecon and Radnorshire with some on the brink of suicide due to the financial difficulties they face.

 

“This comes on top of the fact that because of mishandling by Welsh Ministers of changes to farming support arrangements, farmers are now receiving only 80 per cent of their entitlements.

 

“Like any business, farmers have bills to pay. They rely heavily on the December payments to pay those bills, so it has a knock on effect to the wider rural economy.

 

“The Welsh Government needs to sort this mess out and sort it out quickly.”

 

The Welsh Government said 70 per cent of farm businesses across Wales had now received their 80 per cent Basic Payment Scheme part payment.

 

Food and Farming Deputy Minister, Rebecca Evans said the figure met the published target and compared very favourably with the position in England and Scotland. About 67 per cent of farm businesses had received their payments during December.

 

“Rural Payments Wales remains on track to pay the vast majority of farmers in the coming weeks though more complex cases will take longer to pay,” she said.

 

“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 20 per cent payment instalments will be made in April in line with our published target."

 

 


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Help is at hand says FCN

Help is at hand says FCN

FCN's Peter Riley said the suggestion by Kirsty Williams that farmers were on the brink of suicide was, in the main, wide of the mark.

 

But he urged any farmers feeling distressed to get in touch with the charity.

 

He said: "There is nothing to suggest we are getting more calls than we would normally at this time of year. Basic Payment delays are a concern, but to suggest it is pushing people to the brink of suicide is too much.

 

"Some are in worse positions than others but I would encourage anyone experiencing difficulty to get in touch."

 

FCN's website is available by clicking here or ringing 03000 111999.

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