Cash boost for Scotland is political game playing - FUW says

The announcement that Scottish farmers will benefit from £160 million as a top up payment from the UK Government, as well as a £51.4m boost in convergence funding, has been slammed as political game playing by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

FUW President Glyn Roberts responded saying: “There can be absolutely no doubt that direct support, which underpins safe, top-quality food production, must be maintained to avoid causing irreparable damage to Wales and of course the UK as a whole. 

“As such, we welcomed the decision to set up a review of allocations based on environmental, agricultural and socio-economic factors, and the top up of £5.2 million for Wales means that as such our budget will be maintained until 2022. 

“However, the FUW has long argued that funding needs to be allocated fairly and giving Scotland an extra £160 million, could cause market distortion on an unprecedented scale and is extremely unfair on Welsh farmers.”

The Union President further pointed out that in 2017 Scottish farm businesses received an average Pillar 1 payment of £23,971, which was more than 30% higher than the UK average of £18,306, and 65% higher than the Welsh average of £14,568.(figures based on data downloaded from http://cap-payments.defra.gov.uk).

“As such, this reallocation of funding is likely to exacerbate differences between farm businesses in different nations which must compete in the same marketplace. Funding allocations like this must not be a precedent for future,” said Glyn Roberts.

Whilst the FUW fully recognises the Less Favoured nature of 85% of Scottish land, it is worth noting in this context that Scottish farmers receive targeted Less Favoured Area support from the CAP Pillar 2 budget, which farmers in Wales do not receive, despite 80% of Welsh land being categorised as Less Favoured.

“Overall this is not good news for farmers in Wales by comparison and it begs the question if this is purely a ploy to buy Scottish votes ahead of the potential General election,” added Glyn Roberts.

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