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Kirsty Williams calls for Glastir underspend to go farmers in challenging areas

January 22, 2013 4:15 PM

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, today urged the First Minister to use any underspend in the Glastir budget to go towards supporting farming in Wales' most challenging areas.

Following First Minister's Question, Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"I was astonished to hear the First Minister state today that there was no prospect of a Less Favoured Area scheme. Bearing in mind that 80% of Wales' agricultural land is in Less Favoured Areas, it is staggering that a Government Minister can say such a thing. This just exemplifies how out of touch this Welsh Labour Government really is with regards to rural affairs.

"Every member state of the EU has some kind of financial support for Less Favoured Areas. England, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have dedicated schemes of support for Less Favoured Areas. Everyone recognises how important this support is - all except this Welsh Labour Government.

"Many experts in the industry are convinced that the unpopular and bureaucratic Glastir scheme will drastically underspend its £89 million. If this is not spent, it will be lost to the industry. I hope the First Minister and his colleagues will see sense and use the money to help farmers in some of the most challenging regions of Wales.

"The First Minster agreed to look into this and I will continue to push to ensure that Welsh upland farmers are not left by the wayside."