The Welsh Conservative leader has hit back at the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs for threatening Welsh farmers with yet more regulatory burden after Brexit.
In the Senedd Chamber yesterday, Labour’s Lesley Griffiths AM told Assembly Members that farmers who cited regulations as a reason for voting to leave the EU “should have been careful what they wished for”, pointing to “literally thousands” of regulations in her portfolio which she said could be strengthened further.
Andrew RT Davies said her comments seemed to suggest that she was planning to take “revenge” on farmers who voted to leave the European Union by “clobbering farmers over the head” with red tape.
Such a move, said Mr Davies, would be incredibly demoralising for farmers, causing untold damage to already struggling businesses.
Ms Griffiths also declared that she was a “passionate remainer” and that nothing could bring her to believe that Brexit was a good thing.
In July last year, the Cabinet Secretary came under fire from opposition members for saying that farmers, who generate £5.7bn to the Welsh economy annually, are “not the best people to run a business”.
Responding to the Cabinet Secretary’s comments, Mr Davies said:
“The Cabinet Secretary’s undisguised threat will have caused no small degree of alarm for Welsh farmers, many of whom voted to leave the EU because they simply cannot afford to go on grappling with the growing burden of EU regulation.
“Clobbering farmers over the head with yet more regulatory burden will serve only to demoralise farmers and increase pressure on their businesses. This would not only damage the farming economy but the Welsh economy as a whole.
“Rather drawing up plans for revenge, the Labour administration should be drawing up plans to make it easier for the farming economy to grow and prosper, and prevent the widespread dissatisfaction which led to a Brexit vote in the first place.”
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