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Motions that support farming to be debated by councillors 

A COUPLE of motions to support farming sector are set to be debated by councillors this week.

At a Powys County Council meeting on Thursday, March 7 councillors will debate asking the Welsh Government to “pause and reconsider” the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

The scheme has stoked much anger in Powys and throughout Wales and has seen farmers take to the streets in protest.

The motion will be put forward by Conservative Cllr Lucy Roberts.

Cllr Roberts said:  “Given the importance of the farming sector to Powys’ economy it is important of get the future support scheme right, continuing with the current consultation of a flawed scheme is a mistake and will lead to serious frustration and resentment from farmers across Wales.”

Cllr Roberts believes that the “cumulative effect” of changes to agricultural policy in Wales is putting the sector under “increasing pressure.”

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Cllr Roberts asks that the council:  “believe it to be prudent to pause the consultation, renew engagement with the farming unions before approaching the agricultural sector once serious amendments are made to the Sustainable Farming Scheme proposal.”

Cllr Lucy Roberts (Pic: Powys County Council)

Her motion is set to be seconded by non-affiliated member, Cllr Geoff Morgan.

The second motion which will also be debated by councillors is around the proposal by the Welsh Government to shorten school holidays.

The Royal Welsh Show has already raised concerns that shortening the summer holiday could impact the show which takes place at the start of the holiday period.

Royal Welsh Showground (Pic: Julian Osley, Creative Commons)

The school holidays motion will be put forward by Cllr Gareth D Jones of the Independent group.

Cllr Jones said: “We call on the council to lobby Welsh Government and oppose the proposed shorter school summer holidays.

“We are calling on this for several reasons including: the detrimental effect this will have on the Powys rural economy and the huge impact it will have on the Royal Welsh Show

He also believes that there is a “lack of evidence” that shorter summer holidays would have a “positive outcome” for school pupils.

Cllr Gareth D Jones (Pic: Powys County Council)

His motion will be backed by Conservative Cllr Gwynfor Thomas who is also the chairman of the learning and skills committee which scrutinises education.

The Welsh Government have been holding consultations on both issues.

The Sustainable Farming Scheme is the Welsh Government’s post-Brexit agriculture policy and the consultation ends on March 7.

It sets out how farmers will receive subsidies for responding to the climate and nature emergencies, as well as producing food in a sustainable way.

Protesters are unhappy with proposed changes, which require 10 per cent of agricultural land to be used for trees.

On the shorter summer holidays, the Welsh Government held a consultation from November 21 to February 12.

They proposal is to see the summer holiday reduced from six to four weeks, with longer half terms and a set date for spring holidays rather than moving around in line with Easter.

A Level and GCSE results would also be announced on the same day in August – rather than a week apart as is the case now.

The government believes that children find going back to school after a long break to be difficult and much of the teaching at the start of term is to go over what has already been taught in the previous school year.

Teachers also report more behavioural and well-being issues after the summer break.

The government is currently reviewing the response to this consultation.

To take part in the Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation visit https://www.gov.wales/sustainable-farming-scheme-consultation and respond online or email [email protected]

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