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Glastir demands unfair on farmers

Created on 18/07/2016 @ 05:47
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A local Wales Assembly Member has called on the Welsh Government to intervene immediately to put an end to punitive penalties for form-filling errors.

Russell George, the Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, said that over the past month a large number of farm businesses have received letters from the Welsh Government demanding the repayment of thousands of pounds, based on accusations that they have failed to undertake work as part of the terms of their Glastir agri-environment contracts.

Glastir is a sustainable land management scheme which offers financial support to farmers and land managers who deliver specific environmental goods and services aimed at combating climate change, improving water management and maintaining and enhancing biodiversity.

Numerous farmers have received accusations that they haven’t met the necessary criteria to receive this financial support. However, these accusations were made not because farmers broke the rules, but rather for small, or perceived, errors on the incredibly complex Glastir form, according to Mr George.

“These punishments are disproportionate and place undue pressure on farmers who need government to work with them, not against them,” he said.

“Farmers cannot operate to their full potential when the Government appears to want to attack, deride and fine businesses the maximum amount of money at every possible opportunity for minor errors on highly complex forms.

“This Government appears determined to both demonise and make ease of business as difficult as possible for our Welsh farmers. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“The Government must commit to supporting Welsh farm businesses by ensuring leniency is given when minor errors are made on Glastir forms.

He has raised this issue with Jane Hutt, Leader of the House, demanding the Welsh Government takes a more proportionate approach to Glastir.

“The response given by Mrs Hutt was unsatisfactory and I vow to follow up this issue until an acceptable answer is given,” he added.

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