The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed what they say is a 'very late u-turn' on financial aid from the Welsh Government on financial aid for farmers badly hit by last month's snow. The Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies has announced that £500,000 will be channelled through farming charities.
Additional financial assistance is extremely welcome – but very little and very late. Farmers currently battling for their livelihoods may gratefully receive this assistance – but will rightly question why it is has taken this long for the minister to change his mind. For many, much of Easter was spent digging frozen carcasses from the snow –with absolutely no support.
– Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM
The announcement came after the Assembly's Presiding Officer ruled that the minister should answer an emergency question on the issue from the Mongomeryshire AM, Russell George.
To call this a belated turnaround would be extremely generous. Over the last few weeks I have spoken to countless farmers desperately struggling with fallen stock, infrastructure damage, and financial uncertainty. Today’s additional support will be welcomed –but pales into insignificance when compared to support offered in other parts of the UK.”
– Shadow Minister for the Environment Russell George AM
The Farmers' Union of Wales claims that the resignation of a scientist from the Welsh Government’s bovine TB eradication programme highlights what it calls the 'flawed nature' of the u-turn on holding a badger cull. Prof Chris Pollock is an expert in biological, environmental and rural sciences.
Vaccination is effectively untried so you are exchanging an approach which has a track record of success in Ireland and elsewhere with one not really tried at all.
– Prof Chris Pollock
Environment Minister John Griffiths halted a cull in Pembrokeshire and ordered vaccination instead. He's accepted the professor's resignation with regret. The shadow minister, Antoinette Sandbach, says it's damning for the minister to lose the confidence of one of his scientific advisors.