News that the Conservative and Lib Dem plans to cut European farming subsidies over the coming years would spell disaster for the local economy. At the moment the Con Dem government is lobbying the European commission to cut the payments which amount to £280 million in Wales every year which comes in at a staggering injection of £1.4 billion over the course of the next Assembly term.
In a recent response to the Commission, the Conservative and Lib Dem UK government said, "There must therefore be a very substantial cut to the CAP Budget during the next Financial Framework." It's important to remember that one size does not fit all, farming in Wales works differently when compared to large parts of England, so if such a huge amount of money is taken out of the rural economy of Wales, jobs will be lost and many agricultural towns would be decimated.
If the Con Dem plans come into effect it will be a pretty well near fatal blow to many if not most farming businesses in Wales. The UK government doesn't seem to care about the implications of what its saying in our agricultural areas. The hundreds of millions of pounds that come to Wales from Europe every year do not stay in the pockets of farmers - it is the life-blood of farming and rural communities across Wales, and helps to keep shops, post offices and local banks open and keeps people in jobs.
Fortunately in Wales, we have had, Plaid's Elin Jones who (as Agriculture Minister) has fought hard to ensure that Wales' farmers concerns are heard at the highest level in Europe and that the Commission knows how damaging the Tory Lib Dem plans would be for our farmers.
No doubt some Conservatives will cynically deny what their party is trying to do - but we have it in black and white. The UK government's response to the commission says it all - they care nothing for our farming industry and they care nothing for the rural towns that depend on it. Yet another reason to think about voting Plaid twice on May 5th!