Rush to argue against HLCA change
EMERGENCY meetings have been arranged by the NFU Cymru-Wales to consult members on proposed modification of the HLCA scheme.
Both Welsh unions have tried to put back the Nov 22 deadline for responding to the Welsh Assemblys consultation proposals on revised Hill and Livestock Compensatory Allowances (News, Nov 12). Now they are rushing to prepare well reasoned arguments against the emphasis on linking payments to environmental measures.
Farmers Union of Wales president, Bob Parry, this week held an unscheduled meeting with Christine Gwyther, Welsh farm minister, to warn her about his members grave concerns about the impact of the proposed changes.
Meanwhile farmers in south-west England are seriously concerned by the complexity of the calculations for future payments contained in MAFFs proposals for English HLCA payments. The farmers are worried that the change to area payments would lead to a flow of funds out of the south west to regions where larger upland farming is practised. This has prompted a call among West Country farmers for regional "ring-fencing" around funds to maintain the existing level of support within the south west.
The Tenant Farmers Association has been unequivocal in its response to the proposals. It said that by not arguing more forcibly for the retention of HLCAs in CAP reform negotiations, the government had let hill farmers down. And it claimed that the new proposals added insult to injury. *