Farmers’ Union of Wales officials have met with General Election candidates from all Welsh and UK parties to outline the Union’s key priorities for agriculture in the run up to June 8.
“The outcome of last June’s EU Referendum marked a unique turning point in the history of the UK, and has led directly to the forthcoming General Election – itself unique, given that the key focus of campaigns will revolve around the single issue of Brexit.
“Brexit is therefore a key focus of the FUW’s 2017 manifesto, launched on 3rd May, and we have met with candidates across Wales to discuss the manifesto and our policy priorities for agriculture,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.
Mr Roberts said a key manifesto demand was that the next Government negotiates Brexit transitional arrangements with the EU which allow sufficient time to reach agreement on trade and other matters which are in the interests of Wales, the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States
“We must seek to reach a long term agreement with the EU which maintains simple and tariff-free access to the EU’s Single Market for Welsh produce and ensures transitional and post-Brexit trade arrangements do not sever established supply chains which are of importance and add value to Welsh and UK produce,” added Mr Roberts.
“The Great Repeal Bill must maintain current balances of power between devolved nations, while also taking into account the concerns regarding disproportionate EU rules, regulations and bureaucracy which led to so many voting to leave the EU.
“Above all else, those elected on June 8, must pursue outcomes which negate the risks for those most vulnerable to Brexit scenarios – not least our farming families and rural communities – by ensuring domestic support, trade deals and supply chains are fair and fit for purpose.”
In addition the Union stressed that the next Government should work in partnership with the agricultural industry and devolved administrations to develop a UK framework for agriculture which prevents unfair competition between devolved regions and agree to a ten year transition period between the current and any future policies, as well as agreeing to ring-fenced agricultural and rural development budgets which at least reflect those budgets which would have been in place should the UK have voted to remain in the European Union.
“Agricultural and rural development funding to Wales must be allocated outside the Barnett Formula, and in a way which ensures Wales’ historical allocation of funding is not reduced.
“Food security, rural incomes, and local food production must be a priority, and negotiations must focus on the large and affluent market which is on our doorstep, in the form of the EU,” added Glyn Roberts.