Wefan Gymraeg

Conservatives playing smoke and mirrors with commission

We're calling for a cross-party commission to protect our farmers

By Callum James Littlemore, Jul 01, 2020 2:07

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative decision to set up a commission on food standards, without giving it the power to make any meaningful decisions or recommendations.

Yesterday International trade secretary Liz Truss announced the establishment of the new Advisory Commission, after huge outcry from both farmers and farmers unions over the nature of ongoing trade talks with the US.

Recent reports have outlined how the UK is proposing to slash tariffs on lower quality US produce, despite the fact that the Conservatives manifesto from just six months ago proclaimed “we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards".

Slashing tariffs would leave Welsh farmers exposed as cheaper and lower quality produce would be allowed to flood the UK market, severely undercutting their trade.

In response, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for the establishment of a Cross-party Commission on food and welfare standards, along with the enshrinement of our existing standards in law.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

“Rather than addressing the concerns of the more than 1 million people who signed the NFU petition, the Conservatives are simply playing smoke and mirrors with this new food standards commission.

"The Commission is toothless, with no real power or authority behind it. It is little more than a talking shop, the smallest possible concession the UK Government could have given to try and appease the farming community.

“Despite their rhetoric, and their manifesto commitment, it is clear that the Conservatives are planning to sell out our farmers. They plan to slash tariffs and open our markets to a deluge of low-quality US produce, all in a bid to get a quick trade deal.

"Warm words and political rhetoric are not enough - we need action. That is why we're calling for the establishment of a cross-party commission, including representatives from the major farming unions, with the power to enforce negotiating red lines and scrutinise proposed trade deals.

"We also need to enshrine our existing food and welfare standards in law. Only then can we live up to our commitment to our farmers and give them the certainty and security they need. Failure to do so could see the end of Welsh farming."

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