Rhug Estate welcomed the MP for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes, to visit the farm shop recently, to discuss Covid19 and explain to him the effect the pandemic has had on the business so far.
Lord Newborough, owner of Rhug Estate, showed Simon Baynes MP, around the business and explained the devastating effect the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns were having.
“We are a local business employing local people, we had over 100 staff before the pandemic struck in March. It has been heart breaking to have to let staff, some of whom I have worked with for many years, go as we try to manage the losses we face. Every aspect of our business has been affected. The café remains closed as we simply don’t have the passing trade from tourists to make it viable to open. As a supplier to many restaurants and hotels we have also seen a drastic decrease in our wholesale orders. It’s totally devastating,” explained Lord Newborough.
He added, “I fear for many small, local businesses in rural parts of Wales. We feel increasingly isolated by those in power in Cardiff Bay who continue to treat Wales as one when we have such low numbers of Covid19 cases in many rural counties of north Wales where the economic fall out will be catastrophic.”
Rhug Estate Farm Manager, Gareth Jones, met Simon Baynes MP with Lord Newborough. Both took the opportunity to stress the importance of government support for locally produced food to the Member of Parliament. Agriculture is a devolved portfolio but with EU support coming to an end next month Lord Newborough was keen to emphasise the UK Government’s decision to slash Wales’ agricultural budget will have a detrimental impact on the industry.
Lord Newborough, said, “We fear Brexit will have a devastating impact on the business and the farm during the year ahead with the potential of food inflation and a deep recession. We are having to prepare ourselves for the fact that ‘normal’ will take a long time to return.”
Simon Baynes MP said, “It was a great pleasure to visit Rhug and to meet Lord Newborough and his colleagues. I was very impressed by everything that they have achieved at Rhug and by their innovative and forward-looking approach. We discussed many issues and I look forward to helping on these matters in the future. They have managed the Covid crisis with skill and determination and I hope very much that conditions will improve for them in 2021.”
Simon Baynes MP is pictured during his visit to Rhug Estate. On his left is Gareth Jones, Farm Manager and Lord Newborough is on the right.