Roundtable meeting with George Eustice MP provides question opportunity

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) President Glyn Roberts and staff attended a roundtable meeting with The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 18th March 2021.

During the meeting, the FUW stressed the need for clarity on funding for Welsh agriculture. The Welsh Government is still unable to assign an amount to agricultural funding from 2023 onwards, creating uncertainty around the continuity of BPS payments and the new Sustainable Farming Scheme, in addition to the £137 million cut that Wales saw to its agricultural funding for the next financial year.

Indeed, the UK Government committed in its manifesto to fully replace the funding that Wales previously received from the EU to support farming by promising ‘not a penny less’. The industry needs reassurances about the budget and when a multi-year settlement will be provided as opposed to a one-year budget.

The Rt Hon George Eustice highlighted that current budget allocations remain annual at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic however, there was hope that the next funding review in the Autumn of 2021 would provide a five-year budget.

It was also added that the UK Government will abide by its commitment to maintain the level of funding at the same level as it was in December 2019.

While the FUW thanked the Secretary of State for a productive meeting, concerns about the actual funds coming over to Welsh Government remain the same. Until the promised level of funding through a multi-annual agreement is agreed and implemented, Welsh farmers are unable to make long-term business plans for continuing to produce sustainable food, enhance the environment or underpin the rural economy.