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DAVIES: Farmers don’t trust Labour on post-Brexit subsidies

Farmers do not trust Welsh Labour to deliver a fit-for-purpose subsidy system after Brexit, the Welsh Conservative Leader has said.

Andrew RT Davies said that farmers had more faith in Westminster to design the replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy, but insisted that the Welsh Government should be able to make localised policies under any new system – as is currently the case under CAP.

Mr Davies was speaking on the first day of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

He said that the ‘core principles’ of farm payments could transfer directly to the UK Government, replicating the current structure of EU payments.

He said:

“There is a view among most farmers and rural businesses that they would not trust the current Welsh Government to deliver a package of support that would be fit for purpose – they would have greater confidence in the UK government being able to do that.

“Comments from certain Labour MP’s don’t help, and there is a perception that the Welsh Government takes the same view as Ian Lucas and that they see Brexit as an opportunity to cut support for farmers in Wales.

“Britain’s decision to leave the EU presents us with an opportunity to re-imagine the kind of support that we offer farmers, and we must take that chance.

“It has long been clear that the Common Agricultural Policy needed reform, and its replacement should be locally designed and meet the needs of British and Welsh farmers; whilst freeing the industry from the shackles of red tape and regulation.

“A new UK-wide framework should replace the Common Agricultural Policy and it must be flexible enough for the devolved institutions to continue to pursue locally driven priorities – but retain sharp enough teeth to guarantee a ‘single market’ for UK farming.

“This isn’t about clawing back responsibility to Westminster, because the EU currently performs this role – albeit inefficiently, and with mixed results.

“It’s about identifying an important role for the UK Government in shaping farming policies for UK agriculture as a whole.

“We certainly don’t need to set artificial borders or to complicate things unnecessarily post-Brexit.”