Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb offers support to Welsh farmers


Steve Craddock

ABERCONWY MP Guto Bebb has agreed to support Welsh farmers in their efforts to get a fair deal on lamb and dairy.

Mr Bebb met with representatives of the Farmers’ Union of Wales on Monday, August 17, to discuss challenges facing Welsh farmers, including the prices of milk and importation of New Zealand lamb.

His backing comes after weeks of protesting by farmers right across the UK, which has seen supermarket distribution centres blocked by cattle and tractors as well as demonstrations at stores.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: "We had a very productive meeting and continued to stress that current price levels are not sustainable.  

"Mr Bebb has agreed to write to DEFRA Minister George Eustice MP, to see what short term support the sector can be offered whilst a long-term strategy is developed."

"Farmers affected by the volatility in the market place are advised to speak to their accounts to see if the concessions can be used to help their cash-flow."

 Mr Bebb said: “Farmers want to pay their due and if tax is owing it will be paid. 

"However, the extreme price falls seen across dairy and lamb markets means that many farmers, expected to pay their back taxes in two annual instalments, are facing real cash-flow challenges in meeting their obligations. 

“I have written to HM Customs and Revenue asking them to offer flexible time to pay agreements to ensure that farmers meet their obligations without putting any undue short-term pressures on their cash-flows.”

Michael Jones, a 28-year-old Llandygai sheep and beef tenant farmer who is negotiating on behalf of farmers across North Wales, arranged to continue talks with Asda and Tesco again this week and has said he will back further large scale protests at the distribution centre of another supermarket because his offers of discussion have gone unanswered. 

He said: "We’re not moving until we’re guaranteed a meeting. If they won’t talk to us, what choice do we have? 

“We’re going down to the abattoir with Tesco and we’re going to see what cuts of meat they use, following it through the process and see how they got to that price."

At a meeting of UK farming ministers and farming union presidents, held at Defra’s office in London on Monday, August 17, a series of actions were agreed which retailers and the food service sector should commit to urgently, including clearer country of origin labelling, clarity on sourcing policies and others. 

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