Tonia Antoniazzi MP has warned that the UK Conservative Government’s Spending Review, which was announced with a glaring £95million black hole for Welsh farmers, will leave farmers in Gower worse off.
NFU Cymru have called the potentially near £100 million shortfall in funding for Welsh agriculture a ‘bitter blow at a critical and extremely uncertain time’ for Welsh farmers.
The Chancellor’s Spending Review announcement on Wednesday 25th November appears to show a £95million black hole for Welsh farmers, just as the Brexit transition period nears its end.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said, “The UK government have said they will make up the difference but my constituents in Gower know how this song goes as they’ve seen the UK Government renege on their commitments time and time again. We were promised investment, rail electrification, and the tidal lagoon, but all these promises were broken. The Secretary of State for Wales needs to immediately outline how and when the Welsh Government will receive the funding to make up the shortfall, otherwise all Gower farmers have is empty words from an unscrupulous, double-dealing Government in Westminster.”
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The apparent £95million shortfall in the Chancellor’s Spending Review is a bitter blow for Welsh farmers at what is a critical and extremely uncertain time for our industry.
“In the build up to the EU Referendum and thereafter, we have been consistently told that funding for Welsh farming would be maintained and protected following our departure from the EU - we were told Welsh farming would not receive a penny less in funding as we move out of the CAP.
“Now we appear to be in a position where Welsh agriculture looks like it will lose £95million of funding that it can ill afford to lose at any time, never mind with widescale and unprecedented changes and uncertainty lying ahead for the sector. We are a matter of weeks away from the ending of the Brexit transition period, with the potential for significant disruption to our markets for agricultural produce, alongside the massive disruption in the UK food supply chain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Any reduction in funding puts at risk the unparalleled contribution that Welsh farming makes to society in Wales, being the cornerstone of the multi-billion pound Welsh food and drink supply chain that employs 229,000 across the whole supply chain with 78,000 of these employed in the Food and Farming Priority Sector. The prospect of such a funding cut is a severe blow to the industry’s future ambitions.
“We seek urgent clarification from our elected governments as to how they will resolve this funding shortfall. If our fears around future funding are realised, I am afraid it will be bleak news for everyone associated with Welsh agriculture and is clearly not consistent with the government’s levelling up agenda. It is simply not acceptable that Welsh farmers will be the ones left to suffer.”