Welsh new entrants look set for a helping hand

Wales is moving closer to gaining its own new entrants scheme for farmers.

Members of the National Assembly’s environment committee are arguing over the precise words they want the Cardiff government to include in the rural development plan currently being written.

While the Labour-run administration is not understood to be over-keen on including the proposal in the plan – which runs from 2007 to 2013 – senior committee members believe it has majority support.

Proposer Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru’s environment spokesman, said:

“A young entrants’ scheme would send out a signal from the government that we want to see new blood entering the industry.”

The Welsh rural plan is demanded by Brussels to show the suite of measures being adopted.

Ms Jones said new entrants’ schemes were common abroad, and that Welsh administrations had made past use of some of their elements, such as lower interest rates for farmers aged under 40.

It is understood the Labour administration is unhappy because ministers would prefer the money spent on schemes which more obviously help the entire community.

Ms Jones said she foresaw schemes that would help overcome issues such as the disproportionate rise in the price of land.

But any thought of also introducing an early retirement scheme was brusquely rejected by the environment committee as too radical and too expensive.

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