International discussions over farming compensation but Welsh Government frozen out


Plaid Cymru is concerned that the Welsh Government has been frozen out of compensation negotiations for farmers suffering following the e-coli outbreak in Germany.

A 210million Euro European Union fund has been set up, but while the UK Government’s DEFRA department has liaised with the Rural Payments Agency which operates in England and to the National Farmers Union, it has been revealed that no discussions have been held with the Welsh Government.

Rural affairs are completely devolved in Wales. Plaid Cymru has argued that this is symptomatic of the fact that the Labour government in Wales has relegated rural affairs to a deputy ministerial department.

Further details on the fund and how it will operate have yet to be released.

Jonathan Edwards MP, who asked a parliamentary question to the UK DEFRA department, said:

“In a parliamentary statement and in response to my question, DEFRA confirmed that they were in talks with the England-only Rural Payments Agency, but would not say that they were in talks with the Welsh Government about how this could be done in Wales - or what share we would get.

“This is not good enough. It is important that we are there right at the start, not dependant on what organisations in England say.

“We all know the difficulties that farmers face yet Labour were not even at the table to make sure that Welsh farmers get fair play from the effects of the recent e-coli outbreak.

“The Welsh Government need to be prepared to fight for farmers’ rights and for proper treatment.”

Llyr Huws Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Rural Affairs, said:

“It is astonishing that Wales was not even mentioned at these crucial negotiations. This really shows the impact of Labour relegating rural affairs to a second rank position in their cabinet.

“The Welsh government should be making a full assessment of the possible impact on agriculture in Wales, and farmers need to know that they will have a Minister standing up for them – in Brussels, in Westminster and in Cardiff.

“If Labour Ministers are not present at important discussions, Welsh farmers are entitled to ask who exactly is standing up for their interests.”