From the South West Echo

Commons touch

Below is an article written by Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West

Farmers may well wonder at the vitriol shown in this piece. What on earth can be his motive in writing such unpleasant innuendo?

We wonder whether he was ever shown the answer Roy Miller sent to the Western Mail on December after Mr Flynn's last unpleasant little foray into print. As president of the National Farmers' Union Cymru Hugh Richards says (BBC report) even an Assembly Member - was to go without their pay cheque, they would face serious difficulties of their own.
"I have spoken to three farmers in Clwyd who told me they have not been paid for the last four months.
"I had one farmer on the telephone on Sunday threatening suicide and I have given his name to the Samaritans.
"Another told me was bankrupt and a third said he would have to sell land to keep the bank happy.

Mr Flynn's latest article in the Welsh Press

All is quiet in the farming front after big cash bonanza

For a whole month not a whinge or a whine from the farmers. The myths of farming poverty are collapsing.

We were told that the foot and mouth epidemic cost sheep farmers money. Charities coughed up billions. Now we know that the cash given to Welsh sheep farmers in six months of fmd was more than was received in three or four years.

The assembly spokesman confesses that compensation for animals was at the rip off rate of 'two to three times' the market value. Just a small part of the cash bonanza enjoyed by the rural community of hauliers, slaughterers, valuers, vets and de-contaminators.

Most businesses suffer annual bankruptcies of about 5 per cent. That's forty times the rate for farmers. They leave in industry by selling their farms and land at prices that have doubled in ten years. Even the repeated claims of falling farm incomes and personal tragedies in 1999 and 2000 have proved false.

It's not just the one Welsh farmer who pocketed £1.3 million in compensation. Nearly 250 other farmers had cheques of more than half a million.

Before FMD, taxpayers gave £5bn subsidy a year to, mostly, rich farmers. That's the same as 2p on income tax. Yet, a basket of food that costs £85 here was bought for £39 by the Consumers' Association in New Zealand. They abolished all farm subsidies 16 years ago!

It's a treble rip off. Huge subsidies, income support for millions and the dearest food on the plant.