Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders

Part of 1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at 1:45 pm on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Andrew RT Davies Andrew RT Davies Conservative 1:45, 20 February 2024

I agree with you that the public are entitled, and that's why I used those important figures of the return for the investment that the taxpayer makes. But you did go on in that press conference to say that your understanding was, 'Just do whatever farmers think they would like to do with it'—'it' being the money that the taxpayer puts in to support agriculture. And it's a really tough sell, because your own analysis talks of 5,500 job losses, a reduction of 125,000 cattle, 800,000 sheep, and a £200 million loss in economic activity in the rural economy. Those aren't my figures; those are the figures that, obviously, the Government has put forward. 

When we talk of trying to have a sustainable farming scheme that provides food security, on those sorts of numbers, clearly there is little or no weighting for food security. How on earth can farmers have confidence in the Government's position when those numbers are attached to the briefing? Can you confirm today, First Minister, that food security is a vital ingredient of these consultations that you are having at the moment and, ultimately, that food security will have equal weighting with the critical environmental gains that we want to see farmers play a part in delivering to reach net zero by 2050?