'Tories betraying rural Wales with farming subsidies spin' - Simon Thomas AM

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Andrew RT Davies accused of seeking to centralise power in Westminster

Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Simon Thomas AM, has hit out at the Leader of the Conservative Party in Wales for claiming that the Welsh farming community would rather see Westminster responsible for their subsidies.

Under the EU Common Agricultural Policy currently in place, farmers in Wales receive around £250m per year in direct payments.

The UK Government has to date failed to guarantee that these payments will continue beyond 2020, despite the guarantee of the Leave campaign ahead of the referendum that Welsh EU cash would be maintained.

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas AM said:

"Back in June, Andrew RT Davies loudly proclaimed "we now know that funding for each and every part of the UK would be safe if we vote to leave." Five months on and the empty pledges made by the Brexiteers to Welsh farmers are unravelling.

"Rural Wales benefits greatly from EU funding. Far from guaranteeing that direct payments will continue post-2020, the UK Government has completely failed to offer any security to farmers whose livelihoods are on the line.

"With this attitude being adopted by the Westminster government, it is absurd and irresponsible for the Leader of the Conservatives in Wales to claim that farming subsidies would be better administered from London.

"There is no denying that the Labour Welsh Government has a lot to answer for. Their record has seen our agricultural sector's confidence in them plummet - but the answer is not to centralise power in Westminster.

"Ceding power to Westminster over agriculture would also mean giving up power over environmental policies. Plaid Cymru has been consulting over a unified, coherent agri-environmental future for Wales. The Tories would flush our clean environment down the drain for the sake of pleasing a few grain barons in East Anglia.

"When a Plaid Cymru Minister for Rural Affairs was in post, the farming community felt confident that their interests were well represented and protected. Devolution is not the problem - Labour is.

"Everything Andrew RT Davies says it at odds with the interests of Welsh farmers. Be it sending powers back to Westminster or pulling out of the single market, the Tories simply cannot be trusted to defend rural Wales."

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