Andrew RT Davies has described the Welsh Government’s ‘Brexit and Our Land’ consultation ‘a farce’ after the Cabinet Secretary made clear in an interview to the Farmers Guardian that she intends to plough on with her proposals regardless of views in the industry.
In an exclusive interview with the FG, Lesley Griffiths vowed to push on with plans to abolish direct payments, even if an overwhelming majority of farmers oppose them. She also controversially said that food security would not be added to the list of recognised public goods, stating she did not believe it was a “public good, not for a country the size of ours.”
The comments come on the back of a Written Assembly Question (attached), which confirms the Welsh Government has not sought confirmation that the proposals in ‘Brexit and Our Land’ comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Farming Unions have been pressing the Welsh Government on the issue for some time with little feedback and the WAQ appears to contradict with answers given by the Minister to Andrew RT Davies at spokespersons questions and the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee earlier this month.
Mr Davies has today written to the Cabinet Secretary seeking clarification.
Commenting, Shadow Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary, Andrew RT Davies AM said:
“These are very troubling remarks from the Cabinet Secretary and will fill the farming community with dread.
“A consultation should be used to listen and address the concerns that are raised, however, Lesley Griffiths and the Welsh Government have made it abundantly clear that they will simply plough on regardless of the views of farmers and the feedback they receive.
“That is not a consultation, that’s a farce and once again demonstrates the contempt Labour hold for agriculture and farmers across Wales.”
Mr Davies also called on the Cabinet Secretary to clarify whether the government’s proposals are compliant with WTO rules. He added:
“The Cabinet Secretary and her department have provided two different answers to the same question in a matter of weeks and this raises significant concerns and requires clarification.
“The Welsh Government appears to be creating schemes in the dark and farmers and unions deserve to know whether these proposals are fully compliant with WTO rules.”