The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the recognition of the role devolved administrations should play in planning for our departure from the European Union.
As Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her 12 point Brexit plan, providing more clarity, she said: “I have also been determined from the start that the devolved administrations should be fully engaged in this process […] Part of that will mean working very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster, and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
Responding to the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Today’s announcement offers us more clarity. That’s something we have been asking for since the referendum result. Now we know what we are dealing with and what our starting position is.
“Devolution should be respected within an overarching UK support framework in the context of making our withdrawal from the European Union and as such we welcome Theresa May’s commitment to work with the devolved administrations and her recognition that Wales is different to the rest of the UK.
“With this in mind and irrespective of what trade deals are in place post-Brexit, within the UK, Welsh farmers will compete against their counterparts in other devolved regions. We therefore need a common framework across the UK which minimises unfair competition and market distortion.”
Mr Roberts added that a UK agricultural framework should therefore be put in place which prevents unfair competition between devolved regions and secures and protects adequate long term funding for agriculture, while also respecting devolved powers over agriculture.
He however stressed that there needs to be flexibility within that framework to allow devolved governments to make decisions which are appropriate for their regions and that specific ring-fenced funding for agriculture should be allocated to Wales outside the Barnett Formula, and should be administered by the Welsh Government.
“The FUW will continue in its close working relationship with the UK and Welsh Government to find solutions to the problems agriculture is facing and work together to exploit the opportunities that present themselves to us,” added Mr Roberts