Welsh rural affairs budget cut by £2m

The Welsh Assembly has cut back on its planned spending for rural affairs by £2m for 2010.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones said the revised total budget of £153.37m, reflected the current economic situation, which meant tough choices had been made to protect public services in Wales.

But she insisted that funding was in place to implement the Young Entrants Support Scheme she announced in July, and to meet the costs of the new Glastir agri-environment scheme.

The assembly’s £27m three-year TB eradication programme was also fully funded for the coming year.

“We will also be able to meet our pledge to support farmers markets,” Ms Jones said.

“There is no denying the challenge facing public finances during the global economic downturn. On this portfolio, like all the others, tighter budgets will lead to some reduction in activity.

Improvements to Forestry Commission Wales procurement process would lead to savings in the next financial year, but the budget for the promotion of Welsh food would decrease slightly.

“I am confident that this draft budget is more than fair to rural communities and to farmers in Wales, and allows us to fulfil commitments made.”

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