Welsh farmers urged to lobby MPs amid rural funding cuts

A lobbying tool has been developed following planned cuts to rural funding
A lobbying tool has been developed following planned cuts to rural funding

Farmers and the public are being encouraged to use a new online tool to lobby politicians following 'severe' cuts to Wales' agricultural budget.

Farming groups are calling for the restoration of Wales’ agriculture and rural development budget to pre-Brexit levels in real terms.

As part of the spending review, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a reduction in funding for Welsh agriculture and rural development by at least 27%, and up to 41% if Pillar transfer funds are included.

But the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) has called for the budget to be 'in line with promises made to constituents by numerous politicians and UK government ministers'.

The tool has been created by the union, allowing users to email MPs and Members of the Welsh Senedd.

"The implications for the economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of our communities are severe," said Glyn Roberts, FUW president.

“We’ve therefore set up a lobbying tool so farmers can write to their elected representatives urging them to lobby the government to ensure funding is restored to pre-EU exit levels.”

Farmers were 'assured repeatedly' by Brexit campaigners and ministers that funding for farming would not be reduced after the UK had left the EU, the union said.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto claimed: "We will guarantee the current annual [Common Agricultural Policy] budget to farmers in every year of the next parliament."

However, the UK Treasury has used unspent money from the 2014-2020 CAP budget to calculate the total funding for Welsh agriculture in 2021-2022, meaning Wales will receive £95m less than expected.

Mr Roberts said: “The government's failure to take account of the 15% Pillar Transfer figure increases this loss to £137m - a reduction in funding for Welsh rural communities of 41%.

"I would urge all those who care about Wales to contact their elected politicians regarding this issue."