CLA responds to Mark Drakeford's Brexit comments: 'It's his fault'

Welsh First Minister blames Brexit-voting farmers for subsidy changes, provoking backlash
Fields including OSR, Wales
Ministers are currently consulting on a Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in Wales, the post-Brexit replacement for farming payments.

After the First Minister Mark Drakeford blamed Brexit-voting farmers for Welsh ministers having to draw up their own subsidy proposals, the CLA has hit back, putting responsibility at his door.

Mr Drakeford, who leaves his role next month, made the comments in the Senedd on Tuesday, criticising farmers who voted to leave the EU.

The Labour government in Wales is facing increasing pressure from rural communities, with ministers currently consulting on its Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS). To qualify for the support, farmers will have to commit to planting 10% of their land with trees and earmark another 10% as wildlife habitat.

There have been a number of protests and demonstrations in recent weeks, with the government facing serious questions about its relationship with rural Wales.

CLA Cymru Director Victoria Bond said:

“This is not Brexit’s fault. It’s Mark Drakeford’s fault. His comments are deeply disrespectful.

“In England the new agricultural schemes are bedding in well, not withstanding obvious teething problems that are only natural for such a big change. English schemes have proven that a more environmentally-friendly agriculture policy can work if there is constant collaboration between government and industry.

“By falsely blaming Brexit, Mr Drakeford is seeking to avoid scrutiny of his failure to competently design similar schemes.

“I strongly encourage the next first minister to reset the relationship, and promise to govern for all of Wales, not just the industrial and urban parts.”