The Welsh Conservatives will work with the UK Government to ‘Get Brexit Done’, but also make efforts to assuage any concerns farmers may have about the future, says Paul Davies, the party’s leader.
A few weeks into 2020, and I hope it’s not too late to wish readers a happy, prosperous, and safe new year.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the result of the General Election.
The result was outstanding for the Conservatives at the UK level and here in Wales.
We have a breath of fresh air with new MPs, in seats which have in some cases not been held for years, to bolster the Welsh Conservatives’ already strong showing – especially in rural areas.
You may have heard the phrase – as the Prime Minister put it – ‘Get Brexit Done’.
The General Election gave the Conservatives a clear mandate to do this, yet members of our farming communities may be anxious about farming and agriculture in a post-Brexit Wales.
I understand this; any change can bring about some judders of anxiety, especially when agriculture in Wales and the UK as a whole has been so enmeshed in the EU for more than a generation.
So let me be clear – once we have got Brexit done, we will lobby to free our Welsh farmers from the bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy in order to move to a new system.
To support this transition, we will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of this Parliament.
But looking further into the future, a Welsh Conservative Government would work with Welsh farmers, food producers, environmental experts, and other stakeholders, to devise a new agri-environment system for Wales.
It would also look to develop an industry-led Welsh Food and Drink Strategy to promote our high-quality produce.
In a similar way to the other constituent nations of the UK, we would use our exit from the EU to encourage the public sector in Wales to ‘Buy Welsh’ to support our farmers and reduce environmental costs.
This goes hand-in-hand with our pledge to ensure the strength of the Welsh brand is maintained and enhanced as we leave the EU.
So, be assured that I and my colleagues are right behind our farmers here in Wales.
Paul can be found tweeting at @PaulDaviesPembs