Reduction in future funding for farmers ‘a bitter pill to swallow’ – NSA Wales

Representatives from the National Sheep Association’s (NSA) Wales/Cymru region are urging Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice to provide an assurance of future financial support following this week’s spending review.

The three devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland wrote jointly to the Defra Secretary urging him to provide assurances that the budget for agriculture would be maintained.

NSA Wales/Cymru chair Kate Hovers said:

“NSA Cymru understands Westminster are claiming the devolved nations will have this money from the EU but it is previously allocated money and not for future farm payment schemes.

As an industry, we are constantly told to be resilient and plan for the future but when we have no control over the price of our end product and then suddenly see a reduction in promised funds, this makes it very difficult to see a way forward.

“The spending review appears to show a £95 million blackhole for Welsh farmers, just as the Brexit transition period nears its end.”

‘This is a bitter pill to swallow’

Hovers continued:

“This is a bitter pill to swallow as we have been consistently told that funding for Welsh farming would be maintained and protected following our departure from the EU.

The joint Welsh food industry letter sent last week to Prime Minister Boris Johnson highlighted the need to ensure a UK-EU trade deal is in place and to urgently address major non-tariff barriers.

NSA Wales/Cymru development officer Helen Roberts commented:

“We can ill afford to lose this funding especially as we are weeks away from potential significant disruption to our markets for agricultural produce, alongside the upheaval that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to the UK food supply chain.

“NSA Cymru sees this cut in the budget as an act of bad faith to the farmers who have kept producing food and feeding the nation throughout the pandemic,” she concluded.