THE UK government’s farming minister, George Eustice MP, has said that leaving the EU would be the first opportunity in over forty years to “deliver the change the Welsh farming industry so desperately needs”.
Mr Eustice also confirmed that the UK Government would continue to give Welsh farmers and the environment “at least as much support” as they currently receive – but stressed that money could be spent more effectively in a locally driven system of support decided by UK ministers.
Mr Eustice has identified a number of potential new schemes for agriculture, and the VoteLeave campaign has said that a Leave vote in the 23 June referendum would free up £2 billion that could be spent on measures including insurance schemes and incentives for farmers.
This could mean more money and better support for Welsh farmers, Mr Eustice said:
“If we vote to leave on June 23, the UK government will continue to give Welsh farmers and the environment at least as much support as they get now. The Prime Minister has made that clear and I agree with him.
“After all, non-EU countries like Switzerland and Norway actually give more support to their farmers than we do. In the scheme of things, the amount of money spent on our countryside and wildlife is very modest when compared with spending on other departments. But we could spend our money more effectively if we had control.
“I want to be the first Farming Minister in over forty years who has the power to put things right and to deliver the change the Welsh farming industry so desperately needs. If you want change too, then don’t throw away your chance to vote for it. Vote to leave.”
Andrew RT Davies – Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, and a farmer – said the news was extremely positive for Wales and urged people to vote for a better future for Welsh farming on June 23.
He said:“It’s clear that the majority of Welsh farmers back a Vote to Leave on June 23, which would be transformational for Welsh agriculture.
“Not only do we now have a solid guarantee that Welsh farmers would continue to receive at least as much in terms of support, it’s clear that we need to end the supremacy of EU law and unleash new, fresh thinking and policies that can really deliver for the industry.
“The established unions may have taken a position against leaving, but they were very strong advocates of Euro and as much as they don’t like to be reminded of it, they were wrong then and they’re wrong now.
“A Vote to Leave would enable the UK Government to drive forward support packages for farmers that are tailor-made to our needs as an industry, and that would only benefit Welsh farmers.”