Motion to support agricultural sector to be debated by councillors

A motion to support the agricultural sector will finally be debated by councillors later this week - more than a year after it was first brought forward for discussion.

Plaid Cymru head Elwyn Vaughan
Plaid Cymru head Elwyn Vaughan

In November 2020, Plaid Cymru group leader Councillor Elwyn Vaughan brought a motion to the Powys County Council.

He proposed that the council as part of the £110 million Mid Wales Growth deal: “Looks at opportunities to add value to our agricultural products and specifically to work with the farming unions and the British Wool Marketing Board with a view of facilitating the establishment of the equivalent of WRONZ, Wool Research Organisation New Zealand in Mid Wales.”

But as so many councillors are also farmers, the motion was pulled to allow it to be discussed at a Standards committee meeting.

The Standards committee needed to agree a dispensation which would allow the motion to be discussed and not see swathes of councillors have to declare and interest and leave the meeting.

In June, the Standards committee agreed a dispensation and then in October the precise wording of that, will allow councillors who are also sheep farmers – including those with close personal associates in sheep farming – to speak but not to vote on matters relating to wool.

Once they have spoken they would need to leave the meeting.

As the motion was first submitted last year, there is no need for Councillor Vaughan to work out the cost implications of implementing his proposal.

Councillor Vaughan said: “Finally, at long last we can discuss this.”

“The danger is that we could have ended up with a farcical situation where only a handful of people could take part in a motion and discuss it.

“In terms of this motion wool is an international commodity and anything we would do to add value locally would hardly effect the situation.”

The dispensation could be used as a template for other farming issues that might need to be discussed in the future.

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