15 May 1998

Theres no quick fix – Davies

WELSH secretary, Ron Davies, told the Aberystwyth meeting that there would be no quick fix for farmings problems.

Any extra money, would have to come from the taxpayer, by diverting funds from elsewhere, or by extra borrowing.

None of these options was acceptable as the government worked to build the stable economy, which would benefit farmers in the long term.

"I understand the severity of the problems you face," Mr Davies assured the meeting. "You not only stand to lose your livelihoods, but also your inheritance, homes, and the heritage that marks you out as very special people. I am not prepared to wash my hands of you, but we need to be honest with each other. We must look at your problems in the context of the wider economy."

Substantial short-term help had been given already. He could not promise any more immediate boosts to farmers incomes. There were no easy options, and anyone who said there were, did farming a disservice.

Mr Davies acknowledged concerns about supermarket profits.

Ron Davies said he understood the severity of farmings problems.