Tory AMs support reduction and scrapping of £280m rural grants
Tories in Wales have been accused of betraying rural communities after they used an Assembly debate to confirm their support for cutting, and ultimately scrapping, CAP payments for farmers. Plaid Cymru believes that large areas of rural Denbighshire and Conwy are threatened by the moves.
During the debate Tory AMs refused to join Plaid Cymru in criticising the actions of the Westminster Minister. Proposals by the ConDem UK coalition government could lead to devastating impacts for farmers in Wales who would lose up to 90% of their annual incomes.
In contrast Plaid Cymru Rural Affairs Minister for the Welsh government, Elin Jones AM, has been campaigning to ensure CAP payments are retained for Welsh farming communities.
Clwyd South candidate Mabon ap Gwynfor said that Welsh farming as we know it could disappear for good if plans for reducing CAP payments put forward by the UK Conservative Minister for Environment Food and Rural Affairs were implemented:
“We have seen good prices for lamb this winter, but at the same time production costs have increased significantly, so while food prices soar production costs have gone up as well. Price is only one part of the equation, she has completely forgotten to consider production costs. It’s worrying that she has no grasp of the reality of food production.
“Caroline Spelman’s proposal to phase out CAP payments would devastate the Welsh Agricultural Community. The direct payments to our farmers helps secure food production here. We produce some of the finest foods in Europe and our red meat especially is highly sought after.
“The farming community maintains our countryside and plays a vital role in supporting other industries underpinning the rural economy but if the Conservatives had their way all of this would be decimated. The average Welsh hill farmer would not be able to survive if the CAP payment was taken away.
“The only conclusion we can draw is that Conservative AMs and MPs do not care about farming or the rural economy in Wales. A Tory AM responding to a debate on CAP said that Wales cannot continue to have these payments. It is alarming to hear Conservatives who represent farming communities backing plans to cut and scrap CAP payments, and worse still seeing them lobbying for it quite shamelessly.”
Eifion Lloyd Jones, Plaid Cymru’s Clwyd West candidate, said that the consequences for Denbighshire and Conwy would be devastating :
“People in rural communities across Wales will see the Tory moves as disgraceful. They know full well that agriculture in Wales depends on CAP payments and to be lobbying for a reduction is a betrayal of Welsh farmers.”
“I am astonished at the Tory betrayal of the whole rural community in Wales. Their plans to abolish the lifeblood of farming would be a total disaster. How can any Tory candidate at the Welsh election in May look into the eyes of Welsh farmers and not feel guilty that his party has deserted them in their hour of need?
“Darren Millar must be in a very precarious position in Clwyd West. It does not take a genius to realise that Welsh farmers would prefer Plaid minister Elin Jones to look after them than London Tory minister Caroline Spelman or a Welsh Tory henchman.
“The Tories in Wales have argued that the £280m currently supporting the rural economy in Wales should be substantially reduced. I am sure people in rural areas across Wales, including many parts of Denbighshire and Conwy, will not let them forget their blatant disregard of their communities in May’s Welsh general election.”
diwedd / ends