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FUW leadership in the Welsh EU debate ‘courageous and commendable’

March 22, 2016 4:47 PM

The Farmers' Union of Wales' early and consistent stance on the forthcoming In/Out EU Referendum has been praised by a Mid and West Wales Assembly Member. William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for Mid and West Wales and a member of Brecon and Radnor FUW described the Union's approach as 'courageous and commendable.'

Speaking in the aftermath of the great debate instigated on the issue by FUW between Lord Wigley for Remaining in the European Union and former Welsh Secretary David Jones MP for Leaving, William Powell said:

William Powell farm

"The FUW has for many years maintained a clear position on Wales' membership of the European Union, and was the first of the farming unions to declare its support for the 'Stronger in Europe' campaign. However, given the importance of staying in the EU from an agriculture perspective, it is vital not just to express a strong view on the question, but also to lead and promote the widest possible debate across rural and urban Wales. By committing the energy and resources that it has done from the outset, the FUW has done this - and has paved the way for a raft of other Welsh countryside organisations to play their part.

"My own ancestors have farmed in the Breconshire/Carmarthenshire borders for centuries and my elder son Tom, a former student of Coleg Sir Gar at Gelli Aur and now at Harper Adams University, is keen to make his career in agriculture too. The current challenges that the industry faces would be hugely exacerbated by a vote for Brexit. I believe that it is hugely in the Welsh, but also in the national UK interest, for us to achieve a convincing vote to REMAIN.

"The severity of the uncertainty of a Brexit is becoming clearer to the agricultural industry. In that scenario, farmers would have to rely on World Trade Organisation rules rather than EU membership to secure access to the European market and could be left facing tariffs costing £240m a year for beef and £90m for lamb."

In particular, William Powell endorsed the views recently expressed by FUW President Glyn Roberts, who previously stated:

"We have to be clear on the facts before we cast our vote - a vote that will affect our future generations and the sustainability and viability of our rural economies. Brexit would mean that farmers still have to comply with all the current rules and regulations but would not have any say on what they are or how future legislation is shaped."