Union welcomes SP release but highlights impact of lower payments

THE FUW has welcomed an announcement by deputy farming and food minister Rebecca Evans that 90 per cent of Single Payments were made on the first day of the payment window – but highlighted the impact of a 20 per centplus fall in payment values. Speaking at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, FUW president Emyr Jones said: “Once again the Welsh Government has hit a high payment target and we are grateful to all the staff who have worked hard to ensure money can be released on the first day of the payment window. “However, the combined impact of a lower Pillar 1 budget, 15 per cent Pillar transfer and the lower sterling exchange rate means a fall in farm payments of more than 20 per cent compared with last year.” Recently-released farm business income figures for the 2013-14 financial year showed a welcome 10 per cent rise in overall farm incomes. However, incomes for the same period were down by 11 per cent, to £19,200, on cattle and sheep farms. “Farm incomes for the current 2014-15 financial period are likely to be considerably lower again due to the fall in lamb, beef and milk prices, so the 20 per cent plus fall in single payment receipts will be harshly felt,” said Mr Jones. “With the rural economy being so reliant on agriculture, there is likely to be a significant knock-on effect for the wider community. “However, the cuts to the budget, pillar transfer and sterling exchange rate are beyond our control, and the FUW therefore continues to emphasise that rural development funds be used in a meaningful way to build a more profitable industry.

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