In the face of the great uncertainty facing agriculture and rural communities generally these days, the Union of Welsh Independents has been discussing and actioning ways of giving spiritual support to people, as well as directing them towards any practical help available.
We are working with other organisations such as Tir Dewi, the agriculture unions and the RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) to let farmers, their families and rural businesses that are dependent upon agriculture know that help is available. A poster was produced with a helpline number on it to be exhibited in every chapel.
The Union are also working on a political level, drawing attention to the needs of rural communities as we leave the European Union. A letter was sent to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, bringing pressure to bear on him to do all that is possible to avoid a no-deal Brexit, ac that would have a detrimental effect on agriculture and rural communities, ac would threaten the future of the Welsh language and culture.
Personal letters were also sent to Welsh members of the House of Lords pleading with them to oppose the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, that would pass the spending powers for matters such as infrastructure, economic development, culture, sport and so on, from the care of the Welsh Government into the hands of the UK government ministers. The Union is concerned that this would have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing and prosperity of our people, on food standards and the welfare of animals and on the future of the environment. There is a danger that the UK government could agree to lower food production standards in England in order to produce food more cheaply, and to allow import of cheap food from countries that have lower food standards. This could result in flooding the market in Wales – where there is a desire to keep higher standards – with disastrous consequences for Welsh farmers.
The situation is changing constantly, but the Union of Welsh Independents and it’s departments are awake to all developments. We are ready to respond, and to do our utmost to protect the health and wellbeing of our people and our communities, according to the radical Christian tradition that is the foundation of the Welsh Independents.