Farming (Hansard, 3 December 1990)
HC Deb 03 December 1990 vol 182 cc7-8
8. Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the effect of the current GATT negotiations on the future of Welsh farming.

Mr. David Hunt

Whatever compensatory measures come out of the Commission, we shall work hard to ensure that they are in the best interests of Welsh farmers.

Mr. Davies

Why do not the Government take the opportunity presented by the GATT negotiations to renegotiate the common agricultural policy so that, instead of benefiting bureaucrats and middlemen, it benefits producers and consumers? Is the 30 per cent. currently agreed by the Council the maximum cut that the Government will support? If so, precisely what measures does the Secretary of State intend to introduce so that upland farmers, particularly those in Wales, will be protected from the adverse effects of those cuts?

Mr. Hunt

The figure that the hon. Gentleman has mentioned has, of course, been in place since 1986—a lengthy period. It does not necessarily mean a 30 per cent. cut in prices. I am aware of the difficulties that Welsh farmers face at present and I have discussed them with many farmers on visits to a range of farms in Wales. It is my intention and that of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that, when the GATT negotiations are, as I hope, successfully concluded—let us not forget that agriculture is one of 15 separate issues being discussed in the Uruguay round—we must press for the right measures to be introduced to enable Welsh hill farmers in particular to get a good deal out of the Community.