Local Ceredigion AM Elin Jones has called on the Welsh Government to ensure that farmers are ready for the move to on-line services for farmers. The Party of Wales AM warned that farmers who are unable to access broadband internet should not be disadvantaged by on-line submission of forms.

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, said:

“I’m pleased that the Minister has continued the work on new on-line systems that was started when Plaid Cymru was in government. He must nevertheless adopt a pragmatic attitude to what will no doubt be a very challenging prospect for many farmers.

“Many rural areas of Ceredigion have trouble accessing broadband internet. Although work is continuing to improve coverage, the Minister must be clear that no farm business will be punished if it is still unable to access broadband by 2016. Digital exclusion is already a curse on too many families and communities in Wales.

“I know that the farming unions have been proactive in helping their members with the switch to on-line forms, and I would urge the Minister to listen to farmers’ views on how ready they are for the change. The Government must be clear about what support and alternative arrangements it would provide farmers that find themselves in such circumstances come 2016.”