PLAID Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas has urged farmers to make their voices heard in the Welsh Government’s consultation on the future of farm payments, with proposals to put a new system in place by 2025.
Detailed proposals will be put forward next spring and legislation will be published by the end of the Assembly Term in 2021. Plaid Cymru has warned this will leave farmers and other land managers with very little time to plan the transition to the new system.
Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said: “Plaid Cymru’s preferred approach would be to maintain a basic income style payment, linked and tapered with additional payments for wider environmental and social outcomes, so as to ensure the maintenance of the family farm in Wales and ensuring a cap on public support to individual land owners.
“It’s concerning that the Welsh Government is using the excuse of Brexit seemingly to reject the support mechanism inherent in the current CAP regime.
“Any new system following Brexit must direct support to active farmers rather than rewarding land ownership in itself.
“The principle of a basic income to ensure our farmers remain on the land and contribute to our wider goals should appeal to any Labour government as environmental and social outcomes will not be achieved without land managers acting as stewards to achieve them.
“It needs to be ensured that all active farmers continue to be supported in the difficult years ahead as we transition into a new system of payment by outcomes.
“New entrants also need to be encouraged into the sector and need to be fully equipped with the business and land management skills the sector will need.
“This was discussed in the National Assembly’s recent Cross Party Group on Rural Affairs that I chair.
“Welsh farms could have a double whammy with the loss of basic farm payments and a decline in exports if there is no deal on a customs union.”