The farming industry in Wales would ’effectively come to an end’ if the UK votes to leave the EU, according to the Welsh Government’s First Minister.
The warning from Carwyn Jones came at the launch of Labour’s Wales in Europe campaign in Cardiff.
He said Welsh farming stood to lose hundreds of millions of pounds if there was a vote to leave the EU – which would effectively mean the end of the industry.
“There are some who argue that if we are not members of the EU there would immediately be a free trade agreement between the UK and the EU,” added Mr Jones.
“I do not believe that. I think it would take many months, if not years to complete and mean the loss of many jobs.
“But farming most certainly would come effectively to an end in Wales because our farmers depend on over £200m a year of European subsidies and access to the European single market where we export a substantial amount of sheep and beef.
“That uncertainty is something we can do without.”
Former Welsh Secretary Lord Peter Hain, who is leading Labour’s Wales in Europe campaign, said the party needed to do a huge amount of work to get across the merits of staying in the EU.
“We will be covering every constituency party and speaking at local meetings in the coming months to build the campaign up in readiness for the referendum,” he added.
Responding to a YouGov poll for ITV Wales that gave the campaign for the UK to leave the EU a 2 per cent lead in the referendum, he said there was no room for complacency.
“Wales could sleep-walk into a No vote and we could find ourselves being charged for being in the process rather than net beneficiaries.
“We have got to get back to basics and persuade people it is vital to Wales’ interests and their individual interests to stay within the EU.”
The leaders of Nissan, the biggest car manufacturing corporation in Europe, had already warned that they might have to move their plant from Wales if the UK left the EU.