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‘Minister should reflect on his recent remarks to Welsh farmers’ – William Powell AM

May 1, 2013 3:36 PM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson, took the opportunity in this morning's Environment and Sustainability Committee's Ministerial scrutiny session to invite Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, to reflect on the wisdom of some of his recent comments. In an address to a large gathering of farmers at Trefeglwys, Montgomeryshire to discuss the recent cold weather crisis, Mr Davies compared farm stock losses with the experience of a sweet shop owner in his own Blaenau Gwent constituency, who had a few days' lean trading, following the blizzards.

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat for Mid and West Wales, said:

"Welsh farmers have had an extremely difficult year. In such times it is essential that the Welsh Labour Government provides a strong voice of support for our worst affected communities and ensures they are not put at a disadvantage to farmers in other parts of the UK. The Welsh Government has failed on this in several respects and needs to address this.

"In today's Committee Scrutiny session I called on the Minister for Natural Resources and Food to reflect on the wisdom of the comments he made during a recent farm visit in North Powys.

"In more recent weeks, there have been positive announcements, including the specific Welsh Government donation of £500,000 to three rural charities supporting farmers and rural communities in dealing with the trauma they have experienced. However, the tone and content of communications between the Welsh Labour Government and the farming community at this critical time needs to be supportive and appropriate- and this should start with the Minister. Ill chosen words and comparisons are offensive and betray a damaging lack of understanding of the realities of farming in the Welsh uplands."