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PM offers support for farmers protesting against Welsh Government

23 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking with farmers after he delivered a speech at the Welsh Conservatives Conference. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has offered his support to protesting farmers in Wales.

Farmers across Wales have objected to the Welsh Labour government’s proposals to change farming subsidies to require more land to be set aside for environmental schemes.

The sustainable farming scheme (SFS), which is currently under consultation, would require 10% of a farmer’s land to be covered in trees and the same amount again set aside for wildlife habitat.

Climate change

The Labour government in the Senedd insists the change is necessary to fight climate change but could be adjusted by the end of the consultation.

Mr Sunak met campaigners outside the Welsh Conservative Conference in Llandudno, where he offered his support for their cause, telling them he was “sorry for what you are going through”.

He said: “We’re going to do everything we can because we’ve got your back.”

Taking questions after his speech at the conference, Mr Sunak also said there was “visceral anger” among the farming community in Wales.

“That anger is palpable, and they have every right to be angry,” he said.

“By the Welsh government’s own assessment, their ideas are going to lead to thousands of job losses, reduce our food production and food security and destroy farm incomes.

“It just demonstrates again why their plans are the wrong ones and the wrong ones, particularly, for rural Wales.

“There are farmers outside here today and they are expressing that anger and we will do everything we can, and you guys are doing a great job of highlighting that this is the reality of Labour in power.”

Farmers gathered outside the venue to state their feelings.

Frustrations

Gareth Wyn Jones, a campaigning farmer and YouTuber with more than two million subscribers, said the Welsh Labour government was not listening.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “We are here to state our frustrations with the Welsh Labour government for not listening to us.

“The 20% SFS, we need that to be stopped.

“If you take 20% of the farmer’s food production, it is 20% less crops, 20% less meat, less sheep, beef, everything comes down to that.

“That knocks on for your hauliers, your auctioneers, agricultural wholesalers, feed merchants, everything will be lost, it’s taking out of the whole rural economy.”

Mr Wyn Jones said some farms would be able to cope with the change, but every farmer he knew “was on the other side”.

“Every single person in this country is going to need the farmer once, twice, or three times every day,” he said.

“And they need to remember it because I think the Cardiff elite or the Welsh Labour government have forgotten how important farming and the farming industry is.

“What Thatcher did to the coal mines is what Drakeford and Welsh Labour are doing to the farming industry.”

Einion Owen, a farmer from north Wales, said he had come along because he felt strongly about the cause.

“It’s about the future, for our kids, our farms, our industry, our way of life.

“We farmers are passionate about food and food is already facing pressure from inflation.

“This is land that has been worked hard over hundreds of years to turn into productive land, so we don’t have to put food on a boat to bring it from Brazil or Argentina. Food grown locally and eaten locally.

“I’m all for helping the environment, I’m already reducing my fertiliser usage but to take away more of our land it would have a detrimental impact on our business.”


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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

Gareth Wyn Jones cosying up to an English Tory politican…..not for the first time! (JR-M!) and wanting to abolish our Senedd!!
Proper Dic Sion Dafydd this one!!! Gwarthus!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dai Rob
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Welsh farmers must rebuff English Tories crocodile tears. UK Tories have never cared about Wales and never will. They didn’t consider our markets when they proceeded with a hard Brexit. That has pushed the industry into a corner. Lost our export markets. It is on the Conservative Party watch. They care only about themselves and their narrow English constitutence. Meanwhile, the labour government at the Senedd still wishes to press on with central planning. One size doesn’t fit all. We must not lose so much food production in Wales – a 20% cut is too much lose. First clean up… Read more »

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

How would there be a 20% loss on food production. Most farms already have 6-7% coverage of woodland and can’t cattle go under trees?

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Honest question but what is your evidence that Gareth Wyn Jones wants to abolish the Senedd?

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Wasn’t one of those protesters one that said we needed to eat squirrels?

Gaynor
Gaynor
1 month ago

. How stupid can people be? And as for GWJ he will do or say anything for publicity even cosying up to those whk have caused this crisis in Welsh farming. The authors of Brexit

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
1 month ago

I hope these protesting farmers reminded the PM of his Government failure to maintain the level of support that they received from Europe, as was promised during the Brexit debate. No, I don’t suppose they did..

anthony owen
anthony owen
1 month ago

Rishi getting into his election stride by cosying up where ver he can with whoever may even slightly vote for him.No doubt lots of empty promises were made.

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

“Cardiff elite” – from Gareth Wyn Jones all very Trumpian.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
1 month ago
Reply to  Llyn

There is no elite in Caerdydd it is all downtown

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

OK let’s give them a choice – the Welsh farm subsidy scheme or the English one.

The English one is bleedin’ awful but hey ho the tories have got their backs after all.

Paul ap Garth
Paul ap Garth
1 month ago

Meanwhile Sunak is also in the news Quote
“The Prime Minister has warned that democracy must not be “stifled” by intimidation and threats from protesters who disagree with their views.”

Seems to be ok to protest against other politicians, just not Tories.

https://www.msn.com/…/protests-against-mps…/ar-BB1iMs0v

Alan Jones
Alan Jones
1 month ago

The farming community absolutely loved the subsidies provided by the E.U. What they didn’t like was the, in their words, excessive bureaucracy & form filling plus certain caveats that came with the money, so they, along with millions of other misguided souls voted to do away with it all in the belief it would be replaced by the unicorns gathered beneath the magic money tree in the sunny uplands. They then found themselves totally abandoned by the brexit party & even being under cut by dubious trade deals with far flung parts of the world along with some poorer quality… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

There are farmers that believe the SFS is a great idea but are scared of coming out publicly in the face of those so against it.

It is a consultation, so everyone involved that has a stake should get round a table and talk!

Dafydd
Dafydd
1 month ago

Makes me feel sick seeing Sunak in Cymru spouting off – and even sicker seeing those so called Welsh farmers toadying up to him. Remember – the people of Cymru voted for the current Welsh government … its called democracy! Either we respect democracy or we embrace totalitarianism. What is it to be?

A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago
Reply to  Dafydd

Will those same voters be voting the same way again?

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

What a bunch of chancers. Nid yw’r torïaid yn hidio botwm corn am ffermwyr bach Cymru. Ac ni roddith y ffermwr tlawd hwn fyth groes i’r giwed ladronllyd. Mae croes i’r torïaid yn groes ar gefn Cymru. A chroes i’r blaid Lafur fawr gwell, neu efallai fawr gwaeth.

R W
R W
1 month ago

These farmers have made a big mistake in toadying up to the Tories. Any public sympathy they may have had has well and truly gone.

A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago
Reply to  R W

What support have they had from The Senedd?.
What has any Labour Government ever done for farmers across the UK?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Sickening and bizarre. Farmers standing and smiling for a photograph with the architects of THEIR demise, who despise the very land which they farm, despise the language they speak and the time it took the camera to snap the shot will equate to the time it takes those architects to wipe their misguided smiles from their faces. The Australia farming destruction plan is coming for them.

A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago

Perhaps the owners of Toby Carvery Mitchells and Butlers should be asked why they source Lamb from Australia now (it was from New Zealand previously)?

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