The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the “Managing the Impact of Brexit on the Rural Development Programme for Wales” report by the Wales Audit Office, which considers whether the Welsh Government is effectively managing the risks and opportunities for the Rural Development Programme posed by Brexit.
In their report two key recommendations are made. Firstly that the current scrutiny arrangements for the management and delivery of the RDP that are in place at the moment, should be improved, and secondly that risk management arrangements for the RDP should be clarified and documented.
The report further outlines the importance in viewing wider economic changes and adopting a flexible approach to adapt the Programme where necessary. It also outlines the need to increase the rates of commitment and spending in order to maximise the amount of EU funding that can be drawn down prior to Brexit.
Furthermore the report argues that Welsh Government should ensure that during the transition to any replacement for rural development funds, the Department’s expertise is retained, either in the replacement programme or in the wider Welsh public service.
Responding to the report, Charlotte Priddy, FUW policy officer, said: “We are pleased to see this report looking at the impact on the RDP in light of Brexit and the FUW agrees with the Auditor General’s comment that the “Welsh Government need to strengthen its oversight and scrutiny of the Programme”.
“Indeed the FUW have expressed similar concerns as those raised in the report for a long time through the Programme Monitoring Committee and have placed on record significant concerns about the ability of a single PMC to effectively monitor RDP implementation, and the time dedicated to such discussions. We were therefore pleased that the report takes note of, and acknowledges our concerns.”