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Support for Farmers

Volume 747: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2024

8. What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on support for farmers in Wales. (901892)

The recent protests by farmers across the whole of Wales, including outside the Senedd, show the huge anger there is about the proposals for the Welsh Labour Government’s so-called “sustainable farming scheme”.

One of the best ways we can support Welsh farmers is by choosing to buy British products. That is good for the environment, as it reduces food miles, and for our food security, as we support our farmers. Will the Secretary of State congratulate Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and now Ocado, which have all signed up to my campaign to have a “buy British” button online so that consumers can easily find British produce?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend about buying British, although I might go one step further and suggest we buy Welsh food, wherever possible. That will be a lot more difficult if Labour implement its plans to bury 10% of Welsh agricultural land under trees and to bury another 10% under ponds. That will increase food miles, decrease food security and destroy prime agricultural land in Wales. The Welsh Labour Government need to think again.

The best way to support farmers in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England is to buy British. Does the Minister agree that we should all work together, across all this great United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to promote farming everywhere?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. Let us encourage everyone to buy British and ensure we use as much of our land as possible for growing food, not covering it in trees. It is particularly hypocritical for the Welsh Government to tell farmers they have to plant trees on their land when the Welsh Labour Government are responsible for thousands of acres of forest. They are chopping down 850,000 tonnes of trees every year and even putting some of them into the boiler that heats up the Senedd—not that many trees are probably required to add to the hot air in there.