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Farming unions say their members are getting a bad deal as the Welsh Government warned today that farmers must learn to manage with less help from the taxpayer.
Alun Davies, the minister responsible for agriculture, was spelling out why he's making bigger cuts in farm subsidies than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.
Mr Davies said he's transferring as much money as possible into projects to make farming more efficient, more environmentally friendly and better able to cope when subsidies are cut again in future.
The Welsh Government minister responsible for agriculture has strongly defended his decision to cut direct subsidies for farmers by 15%, the maximum permitted under EU rules. Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies told AMs that he's switching the money to funds that help rural businesses.
He said it would have been "irresponsible" not to act when the overall Common Agricultural Policy Budget is shrinking. He argued that rural Wales has to to prepare for further cuts and that means diverting available funds to prepare for the future. £286 million will be transferred by 2020.
How farm subsidies are calculated will also change, from historic payments, based on production subsidies, to money linked to the size of each farm and the quality of the land. But most alarm has been caused by the cut in direct payments, which is very high in Wales compared with other countries.
- Wales 15%
- England 12%
- Scotland 9.5%
- Northern Ireland 7%
- Germany 5%
- France 3%
- Ireland 0%
- Italy 0%