Wales politics

EU agriculture funding cuts are 'fairest deal' for Wales

French Charolais bulls - file pic
Image caption A consultation on how direct payments to farmers will work has been extended until the end of November

Welsh ministers say the share of EU farm payments Wales will receive over the next seven years is fair.

They said they were pleased cuts were being shared equally across the UK, despite Scotland arguing against this.

The announcement on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) money was made by the UK government environment, food and rural affairs minister on Friday.

Welsh Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies said he welcomed the news.

"Scotland had, of course, made a vociferous case to secure a much larger share of the UK budget pot," he said.

"I opposed that argument because I felt it was unfair to Wales and would have further reduced our share of CAP.

"This is welcome news and the fairest deal for Wales."

Total direct farm payments for Wales will be around €2,245m over 2014-2020, with €355m allocated for rural development schemes.

In cash terms, direct farm payments will be cut by 1.6% with a 7.8% increase in the rural development fund.

However, both budgets are being reduced by 12.6% and 5.5% respectively after allowing for expected inflation.

Welsh Secretary David Jones said: "This agreement announced today shows that this (UK) government is listening, and has ultimately acted in the best interests of all UK farmers.

"The Wales Office and Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) ministerial teams have worked closely with Welsh government officials and with farming organisations such as NFU Cymru and the Farmer's Union of Wales as we worked towards reaching this important agreement."

But the news was condemned in Scotland by SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who said he was "beyond angry at this remarkable decision".

He said: "I don't use phrases like 'slap in the face' or 'treating Scotland with contempt', but it is difficult to dress this one up as anything else.

"This money only comes to the UK because of Scotland's poor CAP budget allocation, and to see the funds go elsewhere... is an outrage."

Mr Davies has extended a consultation on how direct farm payments will be implemented in Wales until the end of this month, with his decision due around Christmas.

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