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22  June

COLUMN: Cut the bureaucracy for our farmers

12/05/2024 @ 05:34


Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams tells our readers that we need to help, not hinder, farming sector.

"If Jeremy Clarkson taught us one thing in his hit TV series ‘Clarkson’s Farm’, it is that farmers are consumed with rules and regulations, hence why they need our support.

Our farming and environmental standards are amongst the highest in the world. So, why would a Welsh Government introduce another scheme which will only further isolate those wishing to work in the agricultural sector?

Not only do they work tirelessly to provide us with quality produce, it is in their interest to care for their land by using sustainable farming methods in order to prolong productivity. It is not necessary to impose more bureaucratic hurdles on farmers.

The Welsh Labour Government have made a sport out of undermining our farmers, and that is the risk when voting Labour at the next election.

In this year’s Welsh Budget, the Welsh Labour government will cut 13% from rural affairs, totalling £50 million. But it is their ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’ which is the ultimate betrayal to farmers.

Our farmers already face enough challenges, but now government wants to dictate to them how they must use their land. Beginning next year, Welsh farms will have to ensure 10% of land is dedicated to growing trees, and another 10% dedicated to wildlife habitats.

An economic impact assessment by Welsh Labour showed, if all farms took part in this ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’, there would be an estimated 122,000 reduction in livestock units.

Less farming activity means fewer jobs. Therefore, is it any wonder this same assessment predicted over 5,000 job losses?

Welsh Labour claim this assessment reflected an “earlier version” of the scheme. In other words, it’s bad but just not this bad!

What assurances do farmers in our area have that this scheme will not be expanded in the future? With around 60% of agricultural emissions deriving from direct methane, will Welsh Labour only be satisfied once all livestock is eradicated?

Without livestock, there are no farmers. Without farmers, there is no food.

According to Keir Starmer, his counterparts in Wales are the “blueprint” for governing. The farmers I speak with in Montgomeryshire are extremely concerned with what that means.

Working alongside Russell George MS, we will defend our farming sector and continue to campaign against Welsh Labour’s ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’."