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13  July

COLUMN: Like turkeys voting for Christmas

16/05/2024 @ 10:24


In the latest of his MyWelshpool columns, Plaid Cymru’s general election candidate Elwyn Vaughan turns up the heat on political rival.

“It was interesting to read our MP’s recent column about agriculture. As a farmer’s son I’m always intrigued why farmers should think that Tories have their interests at heart. After all the reality is:

  • Tories have cut Welsh farm funding by £243m since Brexit
  • Tories undercut our farmers through trade deals with Australia and New Zealand
  • Tories allow supermarkets to rake in huge profits while food producers get a pittance
  • Tories created the Bill allowing lower food standards undermining our food production
  • Tories Liz Truss bonkers budget caused high inflation, pushed up costs and interest rates for farmers like everyone else

Let’s remind ourselves what I said in 2020:

‘Welsh farmers have been aborted by our Conservative MP’s” was the claim made by Powys Plaid Cymru Cllr Elwyn Vaughan following the vote at Westminster on the new Agricultural bill and in particular on a amendment from the House of Lords which would have secured that any new trade deals had to uphold the same standards as Welsh and UK food producers.

‘Bearing in mind that farming is of fundamental importance to our Mid Wales communities, it's very sad therefore that amendments to ensure that the high standards that Welsh and UK farmers have were not protected, this will be a detriment to environmental, welfare and hygiene standards and whatever spin the Conservatives will put on it, of course we all know this was only in order to facilitate a trade deal with USA to allow chlorinated chicken and beef full of steroids to enter the UK that will undermine our farmers.”

‘There were approximately 647,700 people working in the UK agricultural sector in 2015, 9% of which (58,300) are in Wales. Agriculture’s shares of total regional employment in Wales was 4.07%, greater than the national average of 1.42% indicating that agriculture makes a more significant contribution to Welsh employment.

‘Relative to the rest of the UK, 10% of UK agricultural land is located within Wales, 16% of farm holdings, and 9% of the UKs agricultural labour force and where 80% of the land area is designated as a less favourable (LFA) area, one would have thought that our Powys MP’s would have stood up and supported our farmers and the valuable contribution they make as a cornerstone of our communities rather than merely tow the party line.

‘If we have learnt anything from the Coronavirus crisis, it is the need to look again at the sustainability of our food supply, of diversifying our food production, of the need to add value locally, of ensuring local processing, the developing of local supply chains, and maximising the potential within our communities and Wales rather than a dependency on international conglomerates.

‘Yet, what we have seen is a preference by our Conservative MP’s to look after the interests of corporate America at the expense of our farming sector and rural communities. As night comes after day, this will result in low standard imports undermining all those that have invested and worked in developing their farming enterprises and it is a hypocrisy to say they are the party to look after the economy whilst undermining the largest economic sector in Powys.’

Farmers voting Tory are like Turkeys voting for Christmas.”