Tories in Wales have branded the Welsh Government’s farming consultation ‘a farce’ after Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths vowed to press ahead with plans to axe direct payments in an interview with Farmers Guardian.
In its consultation, ‘Brexit and Our Land’, the Welsh Government has proposed replacing direct payments with a Public Goods Scheme and an Economic Resilience Scheme.
Industry groups have repeatedly called for some form of direct support to be maintained, but in the interview this week, Ms Griffiths told FG she would not consider this option, even if an overwhelming majority of respondents to the consultation requested it.
The debate on direct payments has already become very heated, with the Cabinet Secretary going so far as to accuse the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) of spearheading a ‘misleading’ campaign on the issue while the consultation is still open.
Andrew RT Davies, Conservative Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “These are very troubling remarks from the Cabinet Secretary and will fill the farming community with dread.
“A consultation should be used to listen and address the concerns which are raised, however, Lesley Griffiths and the Welsh Government have made it abundantly clear they will simply plough on regardless of the views of farmers and the feedback they receive.
“That is not a consultation, that is a farce, and once again demonstrates the contempt Labour hold for agriculture and farmers across Wales.”