Welsh Government plans for farming funding are ‘shocking’ and ‘not the right path' says PM

The Prime Minister says Welsh Government plans for farming funding are ‘shocking’ and ‘not the right path.’

He's spoken exclusively to ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters during a two-day 'Levelling Up' tour of North Wales.

In this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Rishi Sunak said Welsh Labour's plans to change the way farmers are subsidised will "decimate" agricultural communities.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke exclusively to ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters during his visit to North Wales. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

When asked what evidence he had that this would happen, the prime minister said:"I was at the NFU conference this week announcing our plans to back British farmers with more money to produce more food in contrast to Labour's plans in Wales by their own assessment would cause 1000s of job losses, reduce our food security and damage farm incomes.

"That's why the plans have been described as shocking and people are concerned. I don't think it's the right path for farmers here in Wales."

Both the UK and Welsh Governments are introducing new subsidy schemes for farmers, to replace the grants they used to receive when Britain was part of the European Union.

However, the UK Government has its own similar plans to transition to sustainable farming but hasn’t published an impact assessment of them. The NFU estimates that English farms will lose 37% of payments.

Mr Sunak denies that his government's proposals will result in 1000s of job losses. He says instead they are offering farmers "record amount of grants so that they can get the support they need to buy more equipment and improve automation".

He said: "What we are not doing is doing what the Labour government in Wales is doing imposing top-down land use targets on farms, which would cost 1000s of jobs, destroy farm incomes and reduce our food security. That's absolutely not the right plan for farmers across the UK that will always have our backing as a Conservative government."

The prime minister believes the UK Government's plans are the "opposite" of what is being proposed in Wales adding he wants to see "more homegrown food". He says those plans will give them "more money for participate" it is schemes.

Farmers held demonstrations in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno today. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

He says "access to a record amount of grants to purchase equipment" will increase farmers' "productivity and efficiency". He added their scheme has been warmly welcomed by all the farmers that he has spoken with this week.

Mr Sunak was also asked about  Welsh Labour government’s default 20mph speed limit, something he has levelled criticism at time and time again.

It was put to him that in England, Conservative councils including in the prime minister's own constituency, are expanding 20-mile-an-hour limits

He said: "The difference here is that these things are not imposed top-down of course local communities should be allowed to make decisions that suit themselves but having things imposed in typical labour fashion top-down on local communities isn't right.

"It's not proportionate. It's not pragmatic, pragmatic and fine. I think the Welsh Government's own assessment is it's costing something like four or 5 billion pounds to the economy."

The Conservatives won the Anglesey seat in 2019, latest polls suggest the party is going to lose those seats when the general election comes. So is Mr Sunak concerned about North Wales?

He said: "When I talk to people here I can see that they appreciate what's happening, but because of the Conservative government, we've created a new free port here in Anglesey, which is attracting jobs and investment our levelling up funds are investing directly in local communities, whether that's Wrexham or Rhyl.

"And because of the decision we've made on HS 2, we've managed to get a billion pounds to electrify the north Wales align for that. Yeah. Yeah, of course, these things will take time because they're massive infrastructure projects.

But actually, the transport secretary is having the first meeting of a series of meetings tomorrow, but there's a billion pounds that has been freed up because of the decision on HS 2 that is going to electrify this line which people have been calling for for a long time, which will really improve transport connectivity."

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