CAP document exposes Tory-Lib Dem commitment to ending subsidies in Wales

Consultation response at odds with Ministers claims

The Tory – Lib Dem coalition in Westminster have been accused of misleading farming communities over their proposals for the future of CAP direct payments. Tory UK Agricultural Minister Jim Paice MP recently told the Farming Union of Wales that it was ‘complete nonsense’ that the Westminster government wanted to see a reduction and abolition of CAP payments for farmers in Wales. However, the UK government’s response to the CAP consultation outlines clearly that they are actively lobbying for an end to subsidy for farmers in Wales.

The document, obtained by Plaid Cymru, has exposed Jim Paices’s claims as misleading and clearly shows the UK government has recommended a reduction and, ultimately, an end to CAP payments in Wales.

Nerys Evans AM, Plaid Cymru’s candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, has called for the UK government to apologise for misleading unions and farmers in Wales and to withdraw its commitment to crippling rural communities through supporting an end of CAP payments.

Nerys Evans AM said:

“Having seen the Tory-Lib Dem submission to the consultation on the future of CAP payments, which quite clearly highlights their commitment to reducing and ultimately abolishing subsidy for farmers in Wales, I am astonished that UK Ministers have been claiming otherwise when in discussions with unions.

“I know our Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones AM, has taken a different approach and has been very vocal about not only the value of CAP payments for Welsh farmers, but also the need for them to continue.

“Plaid in government has been firm in our commitment to standing up for rural communities. Unfortunately the final say on this matter rests with Tory and Lib Dem Ministers at a UK level, and whilst they have been telling unions and farmers in Wales that they are on their side, they have made no secret of their commitment to seeing an end to CAP payments when entering discussions with the EU.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, Chair of the Assembly’s Rural Sub Committee, added:

“There is little doubt that Tory and Lib Dem MPs have committed to ending CAP direct payments for Welsh farmers when examining the contents of their response to the EU. It is an incredibly short sighted and naive approach that would have a devastating impact on rural communities in Wales.

“I am sure that farmers across Wales will share my concern that not only is the Tory-Lib Dem coalition attempting to scrap their support but they have failed to be open about that proposal. The Westminster government’s backing for CAP payments to be reduced and eventually abolished will have shocking implications for rural committees.”

End/Diwedd

Notes:

1. A full copy of the UK government response to the consultation on CAP payments can be found by following the below link:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/policy/capreform/documents/110128-uk-cap-response.pdf

2. Paragraph 8 of the document states:

“The UK therefore wants to see a future CAP that focuses on enhanced Pillar 2 measures, delivering environmental public goods. Pillar 1 needs to become a transitional measure, as tools to encourage competitiveness and reduce farmers reliance on subsidies are introduced and take effect.”

3. Paragraph 9 of the document states:

“The UK therefore sees the top priorities for CAP reform as follows: – A very substantially reduced and refocused CAP Budget improving value for money”

“Measures that enhance competitiveness and reduce reliance on subsidies should be enhanced.”

4. Paragraph 10 of the document states:

“Option 3 should have a greater emphasis on the short-term challenges and therefore accompanying measures that would stimulate longer-term improvement in the underlying competitiveness of EU agriculture so that it is better able to thrive in a future without subsidy.”

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