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FUW launches CAP consultation


The Farmers Union of Wales today launched the first of a number of detailed consultations with members over the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013, following the European Commissions publication of broad proposals earlier this month.

The consultation asks FUW county branch committees to consider the two issues of capping Single Payments and possible ways of distributing Pillar 1 payments within Wales.

Launching the consultation at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, the FUWs president Gareth Vaughan said: Pillar 1 payments represent the injection of hundreds of millions of pounds into Welsh rural communities each year, and the European Commission have made a number of broad recommendations as to how money should be distributed after 2013.

Included amongst these are the suggestion that payments to businesses might be capped, and I believe that it is essential that we gather the views of members on this and other possible payment options, rather than dismissing the Commissions proposals out of hand.

The Commission has proposed that the current system, where Welsh payments are based on historic claims made in the years 2000 to 2002, should be phased out in favour of a flat-rate per hectare basis.

However, they have also suggested that a ceiling or cap should apply for large payments, which could also take account of number of employees on particular farms.

During the 2007 Health Check negotiations, the Union successfully argued in favour of keeping our historically based payment system. However, the movement to a flat or flatter rate payment system is by now inevitable.

It is therefore essential that we consider all possible options, including capping, and lobby for flexibility from Europe to implement a system which best suits Waless farming industry and takes account of the needs of farms in different regions of Wales.

As a democratic union, it is only right that we conduct a rolling consultation with members on important issues such as these.

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