Wales’ farm minister is refusing to budge on his decision not to award financial aid to livestock farmers severely affected by last month’s snow.

In response to an open letter from the presidents of Wales’ three farming unions and Wales YFC, Alun Davies repeated the reasons why he believed cash aid was not justified.

“There is a real matter of fairness and affordability here,” said Mr Davies, referring to other businesses that had been affected by the weather and the economic downturn in general.

“It is also hard to see how repeated demands for short-term subsidies support the process of change necessary for farming businesses to meet the increasing challenges of the global marketplace. We need solutions for Welsh agriculture that are sustainable – in every sense.”

Mr Davies insisted that the measures he had already put in place, including an extension to the burial derogation for fallen stock, demonstrated that he was standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the wider farming community in helping it through the current difficulties.

He revealed that he was considering bringing forward a proportion of single farm payments to October, particularly for those who have been hit hardest by the weather.

He said he was also willing to keep other possible measures under review while the evidence of the precise nature and extent of the problems became clearer.

Mr Davies will make a further statement on the issue in the Senedd on 16 April.

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