FUW seeks clarification of impact of funding commitment for Rural Development

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s commitment to funding agricultural support until 2020 – but is seeking clarification on how the decision will affect those with agreements under Wales’ rural development programme.

In an announcement earlier today (13 August) Mr Hammond said current levels of agricultural funding under Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy would be upheld until 2020 as part of the transition to new domestic arrangements, with the arrangements to include devolved regions.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom also provided assurances that any agri-environment schemes agreed before the Autumn Statement would be fully funded, even if the agreements continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. However, there is uncertainty as to how this might impact in devolved regions such as Wales.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Since the referendum outcome was announced we have called for the funding timetable to be aligned with the EU’s budgetary period, and this announcement takes a step in that direction.”

However, Mr Roberts said that while the decision provided a much needed boost to confidence, it also raised numerous questions.

“We are uncertain as to how exactly this will work in devolved regions after Brexit, particularly in the context of agri-environment agreements under Rural Development Programmes.

“Any agri-environmental agreements which start now would have to run until August 2021 under the current legal framework, raising major questions about funding and legal obligations after the period announced by the chancellor.”

Mr Roberts said he would be seeking clarity from both the UK and Welsh Governments regarding how the announcement would impact Welsh farmers, particularly those who are already in, or are considering entering into agri-environment agreements.

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