PRODUCING meat would treble in cost if subsidies for farmers didn’t exist, a Powys councillor has said.

At a meeting of Powys County Council (PCC) on Thursday, March 7, councillors debated a motion by Conservative Cllr Lucy Robert 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 and steps of the Senedd in protest.

At the meeting 29 of the 68 Powys councillors had to declare and interest in the item due to being farmers, being related or friends with farmers as well or working with the agricultural sector.

Head of legal and monitoring officer, Clive Pinney told these councillors they could take part in the debate but not vote on the motion.

The motion had been amended before being put to the councillors and said: “Powys County Council considers the current situation to be untenable and asks the Welsh Government to renew engagement with the farming unions, before reapproaching the agricultural sector, once serious amendments have been made to the Sustainable Farming Scheme.”

Independent councillor and farmer, Cllr Edwin Roderick said: “The scheme is not fit for purpose.

“It has been drawn up by people with no knowledge of agriculture, no knowledge of cefn gwlad and no knowledge of the culture.”

He said  people don’t understand why farmers receive subsidies which was brought in by the 1947 Agriculture Act under Clement Attlee’s Labour Government.

Liberal Democrat, Cllr Adam Kinnerley said that the debate should not be “environmentalists versus farmers.”

Deputy council leader and Labour group leader, Cllr Matthew Dorrance: “We’re all touched by farming in some shape or form and we’re really lucky here to have really good quality farming products.

“We should be doing more to champion particularly around supermarkets stocking farming products.”

“Having listened to the debate I will vote for the motion as it’s important that we’re united as a council on this issue.”

Before the vote was taken, Cllr Aled Davies said: “After the monitoring officer has heard the debate has the advice changed at all?”

Mr Pinney said: “The advice remains as it’s the Standards Committee’s dispensation.”

Cllr Davies then said there was “no point in” staying as he could not vote and began packing up.

Cllr Davies and several others who were not allowed to vote then left the chamber.

The motion was approved with 28 councillors voting in favour, one against and four abstentions.