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Call for EU to act on ‘devastating’ price cuts

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Accused: Phil Hogan

Accused: Phil Hogan

ANNOUNCEMENTS by Arla and First Milk at the beginning of July that they were to cut the price paid to dairy producers by 1p/litre has resulted in a deepening sense of crisis within the Welsh dairy industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Llyr Gruffydd AM, called on the European Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan to acknowledge that there is a crisis in the Welsh dairy sector on the day that he visited the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

The EU Commissioner will visited the show on Monday (Jul 20), as dairy farmers in Wales continue to produce milk at a loss with no prospect of a price increase until at least next year.

Mr Hogan has been widely criticised for refusing to acknowledge the true scale of problems facing the industry. He was criticised for claiming in January that milk prices were holding up well and there was no dairy crisis, and was further challenged to make the long overdue recognition by MEPs in the European Parliament earlier this month.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “With devastating milk price cuts at farm gate level, the short-term fortunes of dairy production is pretty grim. No business can carry on producing at a loss for very long and it is time for the Commissioner to acknowledge the scale of the crisis. Producers have seen more than a third knocked off their milk price in less than 12 months and this is having huge repercussions for the rural economy.”

The AM continued: “The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show is the biggest event in our farming calendar, and if the EU Commissioner is meeting with farmers here today then he needs to be honest with them. That means acknowledging that the dairy industry is in crisis. After seeing the Tory UK government cut the overall CAP budget by 10% and then a Labour Welsh Government cutting direct subsidies to Welsh farmers by £1/4bn, plummeting farm-gate prices come at a most difficult time.”

Pointing out the role of supermarkets in driving down prices, Mr Gruffydd concluded: “Large retailers also have a key role to play. Using milk as a loss leader inevitably devalues the product and it should not be happening.”

Optimism expressed by Welsh Conservatives that the removal of milk quotas in an already difficult market would not lead to price falls for Welsh farmers has been shown to be nothing more than wishful thinking. The fears of the FUW that abandoning quotas would adversely impact smaller producers, who predominate in the Welsh dairy market, appear at this stage to have been fully borne out.

Rob Harrison, head of the NFU’s dairy board said: “450 quitting dairy farming since this time last year in England and Wales. The recent series of cuts have highlighted the need for short-term solutions to address the problems happening now – farmers need urgent help from industry and Government. We need Government to move away from paying lip service and focus on the here and now. Their long-term solutions must take a back seat while we focus on the immediate crisis; we need them to insist on best practice in the supply chain, look at growing dairy consumption and supporting more investment in dairy processing in the UK – and this needs to happen now.”

Since 2002, more than half of Britain’s dairy farmers have gone out of business, defeated by rock-bottom prices and rising costs. For the past few months, even those that have survived have been caught up in another perfect storm. Britain consumes more than four-fifths of the milk it produces, but its price is dictated globally, by the cost of producing milk in, say, New Zealand or the US.

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Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Crime

Police investigating after man injured during altercation in cemetery

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POLICE have confirmed that they are investigating a report of an altercation which occurred in the cemetery off Gelliswick Road, Hakin, Milford Haven sometime between 4.30 and 5.00pm, Wednesday 17th July, 2024.

Following the incident, a 32-year-old man went to hospital for treatment and was later released.

A 19-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on bail pending further police enquiries police have confirmed.

The incident caught the attention of locals, who said there was a large police response to the incident included armed officers.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: 394 of the 17th

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org

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Crime

West Wales man jailed for rape after victim’s cries heard

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A WEST WALES man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for raping a woman in an attack that ended only when her cries for help were heard by others. Charlie Evans, a 22-year-old former Exeter University student, ignored his victim’s repeated pleas for him to stop during the 45-minute ordeal.

The incident took place after Evans and his victim had attended a party, where both had been drinking. The court heard that after kissing, the pair left together, with the woman under the impression that Evans lived in a flat with her friend.

Upon returning to the flat, the woman used the toilet before Evans raped her, despite her repeatedly saying no. The prosecutor described the victim as crying hysterically and added: “She did not want these things to happen.”

During the attack, one student testified they could hear the victim not consenting and begging Evans to stop. Another person said they were so concerned they inquired about what was happening.

Police were alerted after the incident was reported to campus staff, who then contacted the emergency services. Evans was told to leave his flat and was subsequently removed from the university. He denied the offence during his police interview.

Evans, of Victoria Avenue, Mumbles, Swansea, was convicted earlier this year at Exeter Crown Court of rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced on July 12. In a victim statement, the woman said her life had been forever changed by Evans’s actions. She expressed feelings of fear, confusion, and shame during the incident and continues to suffer from nightmares. She now feels distrustful of men and has sought support to cope with her trauma, the court heard.

Christopher Quinlan KC, defending, presented multiple good character references for Evans, describing him as a “kind and respectful” young man who was “always positive, compassionate and thoughtful.” He argued that his client’s life was “in ruins” as a result of his actions.

However, Judge Stephen Climie told Evans he had “completely misrepresented” his victim’s position, adding: “She was so far away from wishing to engage in your sexual activity that the only explanation for your attitude and approach was alcohol that blinded you to what was clearly and obviously the word ‘No’.” He continued: “So far as your life is concerned you will be crushed as a result of the sentence I’m required to impose.”

Following the sentencing, DC Michele Hicks from Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime investigation team praised the victim for her courage and resilience throughout the investigation. She said: “I hope this case reassures the community how seriously the police take reports of sexual violence against women and girls and gives people the courage to come forward in future.”

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