Questions Without Notice from the Party Leaders

Part of 1. Questions to the First Minister – in the Senedd at 1:43 pm on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Mark Drakeford Mark Drakeford Labour 1:43, 20 February 2024

Well, Llywydd, the Welsh Government is committed to going on supporting farmers and the rural economy. It's why we have sustained the total amount that we put into the basic payment scheme in full here in Wales—an enormous contrast with the way farmers have been treated in England, of course. The point I made yesterday, and I make it again today, is that the public in Wales will go on investing in farming, and the public is entitled to see a return on that investment. That is what the sustainable farming scheme is all about. At the very top of the list is the investment that we will make in sustainable food production, but, alongside that, there are other things, very important things, that farmers do today that we want to go on rewarding them for doing in the future—all those environmental stewardship things, that, in an era of climate change, take on an even greater significance. So, there is a bargain here. That is the bargain that the sustainable farming scheme represents. It's why we've had a seven-year conversation with farmers in Wales about getting that bargain right. We're in the final days of the latest consultation, and I hope that as many people as possible will take part in it, so that we can get to a final scheme that continues to invest in the future of the countryside and our farming communities, and does so in a way that delivers the return on that investment to which the public is entitled to look.