Archive for May, 2013

What Are The Priorities Of RDP & SCES?

10 May

I  came across a government consultation about Equal Impact Assessment of the RDP asking for views. Sure lots of you have taken the time and trouble to dig through wag’s interesting website to find this too! Well follows is what this is all about, just read through and see what you think:

Equality Impact Assessment of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan for Wales

This consultation seek your views on proposed changes to the up coming rural development plan for Wales 2014 -2020.

Start of consultation:03/05/2013

End of consultation:26/07/2013

The purpose of the Environment impact assessments (EIAs) is to assess whether the implementation of the Rural Development Plan is having an adverse impact on people of different equality groups. The EIAs also highlight opportunities for the Rural Development Plan to promote equality across the different equality groups.

The focus is on the following equality groups:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race and ethnicity
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender
  • welsh language

We will use the EIAs in the following ways:

  • to assess whether the implementation of the Programme Strategies and Priorities will have a differential impact for particular groups of people
  • inform how equality issues should be considered in any redesign of the programme
  • inform how equality issues should be considered in the shaping of implementation arrangements
  • identify opportunities to promote equality in the programme
  • propose solutions for elimination of any negative impacts which may be identified through the assessments.

The Welsh Government values responses received as part of the EIA consultation process.

Well this certainly rates in my book as very worthy, but in civil service-speak methinks this constitutes ticking a funding box.

In my view RDP and the Supply Chain Efficiencies Scheme should make their priority that money ‘donated’ from RDP & SCES should focus on value-for-money. Ian and I have spent far too long trying to get civil servants to understand that they are not achieving this, they are satisfied in simply paying lip-service to it, or in reality, just ticking another European box, which is what they exceel at. Our last conversation with them, in my view verged on arrogance, especially regarding a SCES funded website that has no shop facilities, but has cost, as far as we can ascertain £129k for a three year programme – yes simply for a basic, bog-standard website. Has the Welsh Government world gone completely mad? Would they really pay these stupid amounts if they were spending their own money? Methinks not!!!! Website rankings are never looked by wag or even taken into consideration. Now who was it that said our government and the rest of us live in two different worlds? Could that have been me?

Again in my view, to say that I think this system is flawed, would be an understatement. However, to get civil servants to admit anything can be improved is no easy task. In fact, on one of my ‘bad’ days I’d say it was nigh impossible.

Someone asked me this week if I’m as passionate as I was about Welsh food, well yes, of course I am, but I’m totally disillusioned and disenchanted with our Welsh food department and that means with far too many of our civil servants. The ongoing problem for us is how do we change things? How do we get civil servants to communicate with those involved with food? How do we ever achive value-for-money from these schemes? How do we build a better and more sustainable food industry? How do I get a better deal for our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers?

Questions, endless questions from me, but in fairness I’ve been asking them for too many years a long time and have not made sufficient progress…………………………….


True Taste – What’s Happening?

08 May

One of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers got in contact this morning and saying – not a happy bunny – sure fits the bill. This producer had been told by a source close to the Welsh Government that the True Taste is being run only for those big-boy companies that are focusing on supermarkets. As this producer rightly says True Taste is important for Wales and is one of the leading tourism tools that attracts so many visitors to Wales. However the drop in food festival funding this year does make one question just what is the wag food department thinking? Well if they are thinking, any chance that they might tell me about it?

Our producer was so angry that TT is now being directed to large businesses that can mass produce products and therefore have, in many cases no real link to tourism. This producer is hoping that Visit Wales will take over TT for smaller producers but I can’t see that happening at all.

Anyway to see what the official line is we contacted the Press Office to be told:

Further to your call I can confirm that we are currently reviewing ‘Wales The True Taste’ and further information will be made available once a decision is reached.

Now had to go back and ask for a timeline, will we know this year or next year, but it’s just another job to do isn’t it? But there again I guess it’s only me that expects to get the full story after one question!!!

However we got a prompt response to our asking for a timeline on this, which is shown below:

I cannot give you a definitive timetable I’m afraid. I am not aware either of a decision being taken and I believe the Minister has reiterated that in plenary today at the Senedd.

So it is another case of waiting until the food experts at wag, along with the Minister make their minds up. Although many Welsh producers hold great store by True Taste, I doubt very much they will have been consulted on any change to the format. So they  will just have to wait patiently until decisons are made for them. Meanwhile maybe more of our producers will head for Britain’s Great Taste. I can recall one producer telling me of a presentation their company was doing for a big supermarket and was asked what the True Taste Award was as they’d never heard of it!!!!!! Methinks TT is lacking on marketing and promtion ………………


Proper Welsh Milk Company

08 May

News has come in on Proper Welsh Milk Company which some of you might find of interest to some of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers.

The Carmarthenshire-based company entered administration in March and then a  rescue deal was struck with listed group Dairy Crest. The Proper Welsh Milk Company was founded in 2010 and began trading in October 2011 as the first new-build dairy in Wales for 75 years. By February 2013 it was processing about 250,000 litres of Welsh milk per week to major supermarkets and wholesalers in the region. During the first 15 months of trading the company was supported by several rounds of funding as revenues increased to £5m per year.

But creditors of The Proper Welsh Milk Company are owed more than £1m with only a ‘small distribution’ expected for unsecured creditors. Administrators from BDO said the directors had expected a £300,000 share issue would take place in February 2013 to support the company until it reached break-even turnover of 300,000 litres per week. This was expected to happen by April. However, whilst the capital structure was formally amended for the injection to take place, the additional funding could not be sourced. As a result the business faced a ‘substantial cash shortfall’ at that time.

BDO said an accelerated sale process was explored and the sale to Dairy Crest completed on the same day The Proper Welsh Milk Company entered administration. It paid £325,000 for the assets.

According to the administrators, unsecured creditor claims to date are about £737,000, including £42,000 to HM Revenue & Customs. Cash is also owed to its five secured creditors comprising Finance Wales (£200,000); HSBC Asset Finance (£164,000); The Waterloo Foundation (£113,000); and HSBC Bank (£31,000). About £216,000 owed to HSBC Invoice Finance has already been repaid.

Administrators said the estimated return to the secured creditors is as yet unknown. Adding: “Due to the high level of secured debt, there is unlikely to be any distribution to unsecured creditors within this administration other than by way of the prescribed part.”


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