FUW appoints Group Managing Director

The FUW is pleased to announce a new role – FUW (Farmers’ Union of Wales) Group Managing Director, who will oversee the Union’s work on behalf of the agricultural industry and its successful insurance services, FUWIS (Farmers’ Union of Wales Insurance Services).

Following an appointment process, jointly administered by FUW and FUIWS, Guto Bebb was appointed to the post. Guto Bebb has been the Managing Director of FUWIS since April 2020.

Mr Bebb, who lives in Caernarfon, is the ex-MP for Aberconwy, former Under Secretary of State for Wales, and former Procurement Minister with the Ministry of Defence.  As a result, he is very familiar with the world of public policy.  

Before commencing his political career, Mr Bebb was a business consultant and company director.  His commercial experience stood him in good stead as a member of the Public Accounts Committee at Westminster, and in managing the multi-million procurement budget of the Defence Ministry.

Beware of scams and cold callers, FUW warns members

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging members to be aware of scams and cold callers, as recent incidents have seen an increase. 

FUW Carmarthen County Executive Officer David Waters said: “We have received a few reports from members recently that they have been targeted by cold callers and scammers, frequently regarding new utility contracts.

“These phone calls and emails, which often end up with the person agreeing to a new contract, are legally binding in many cases and very difficult to get out of. I urge members to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Mr Waters added that farms are being targeted because often individuals are isolated and are viewed as being vulnerable and therefore more likely to fall foul of fraud. A large proportion of fraud crimes involve criminal gangs targeting specific groups, including the agricultural community.

Never make any rushed decisions and don’t feel pressured into making a decision on the spot.  If, for example, a telephone caller is genuine they will allow you time to think about things and for you to be able to call them back later or review their offer in writing.

“The people who carry out these scams are convincing, it is what they do for a day job.  But there is assistance out there from Trading Standards and the police. Please remember that it is important to report scams, no matter how small, so that they can be fully investigated and to ensure that support is given to the individuals concerned,” he added.

FUW’s virtual breakfast week a success

The virtual farmhouse breakfast week (18-24 January), organised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales has been a roaring success. The campaign didn’t just raise the profile of local food, its  producers and retailers but vital funds for the DPJ Foundation.

Under normal circumstances the FUW would have held breakfast events across Wales in village halls, cafes, marts and farmhouse kitchens, however the on-going Covid-19 lockdown meant a change of plan. 

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “I would like to thank each and every single one of you who has helped make this virtual campaign a roaring success. We have seen hundreds of you enjoy breakfast, sourced locally, at home with your families and our retailers and farmers were instrumental in their involvement and provided excellent food from Wales.”

Draconian water quality legislation makes a mockery of devolution says FUW

The Farmers' Union of Wales says Welsh Government water quality legislation announced today (January 27) makes a mockery of devolution by failing to address Welsh concerns and needs.

The legislation will mean the phasing across Wales of what are effectively EU rules currently in place in intensively farmed areas -  designate the whole of Wales as an EU Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), an area more than forty times bigger than the current Welsh NVZ area, and eleven times bigger than what was recommended by NRW.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: "The blank sheet of devolution and Brexit allows Welsh Government to design a bespoke system which would target problem areas without being disproportionate and costing the farming industry hundreds of millions - including in areas where there are no problems.

Montgomeryshire FUW to raise concerns over Brexit impact on exports with MP

Members of Montgomeryshire FUW are to meet virtually with MP Craig Williams to raise concerns about the threat that non-tariff barriers represent to a major slaughterhouse in the constituency and the industry as a whole.

Meat processing plant Randall Parker Foods, near Llanidloes, which processes a million lambs a year - half of which are exported to the European Union - last week warned that it may lose a third of its 150 workers if the extra cost and paperwork of selling meat into the EU under the new post-Brexit trading arrangements cannot be overcome.

General License to control wild birds lawful but final hurdle not yet cleared, FUW warns

The FUW breathed a sigh of relief after Natural Resources Wales successfully defended General Licences to control certain wild birds in the High Court after campaigning body Wild Justice brought a legal challenge. The ruling means that the challenged General Licences can continue to be used to control certain wild bird species. The General Licences are available for the purpose of preventing serious damage or disease to crops or livestock, protecting public health and conserving certain species of wild birds. 

FUW anger as lack of maintenance work results in flooding again

Farmers’ Union of Wales members in the northern area of Meirionnydd have expressed deep anger and frustration following the flooding of several hundred acres of land at Llanfrothen near Porthmadog over recent days.  The flooding occurred as a result of the Afon Croesor overflowing once again to the nearby Internal Drainage District causing tremendous damage to the best agricultural land in the area. 

The problem has been brought to the attention of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on several occasions, and site meetings were held with NRW staff following flooding in July 2020. This included a meeting on site with Liz Saville Roberts MP. 

FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones said: “The Afon Croesor has the status of ‘main river’ and is the responsibility of NRW. During our meetings in August 2020, the NRW officers were shown trees and overhanging branches which impede the flow of the river, and where maintenance work is urgently required.  We also discussed the clear need to dredge parts of the river. Flood banks in urgent need of repairs were also shown, with a request that a detailed inspection is carried out as soon as possible, with a view to making repairs as soon as possible. We gave a clear warning that doing nothing was not an option. 

Big Farmland Bird Count 2021 - Help us showcase how bio-diverse Wales is, FUW encourages

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is encouraging farmers in Wales to get behind the Big Farmland Bird Count 2021, by spending 30 minutes recording the farmland birds they see on their land. The annual UK wide count, run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is scheduled for the 5 – 14 February 2021.

To help farmers understand what’s involved, the Union is hosting a joint webinar with the GWCT on Monday, 1 February, at 7pm via Zoom. The webinar is free and open to all and will hear from FUW President Glyn Roberts, FUW member John Yeomans  and Matthew Goodall and Lee Oliver from the GWCT, who will be discussing the birds that we might see and suggest some ideas on what can happen on farms to encourage more bird activity. 

Sheep and Goat keepers - have you submitted your annual inventory for 2021?

Sheep and goat keepers in Wales are being reminded to submit their annual inventory form by Monday 1 February, to avoid potential penalties. The form can be submitted by either logging onto the EID Cymru website (www.eidcymru.org), or by returning the paper form in the post.

FUW Pembrokeshire County Executive Officer Rebecca Voyle said: “The annual inventory of sheep and goats is a legal requirement and it is vital that farmers record all the sheep and goats that they are the registered keeper of, by CPH location, on 1 January 2021. 

“The number of sheep/goats  declared must include breeding sheep, rams, ram lambs, store and finished lambs, cull ewes/rams, goats and any other sheep. It is important that farmers do this to avoid a potential cross-compliance penalty and an increased likelihood of an inspection.”

If you require any assistance, contact the EIDCymru service helpline 01970 636959, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or your local FUW county office.

Report livestock worrying incidents to police, FUW urges farmers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging members to report all incidents of livestock attacks to the police to ensure that the right actions can be taken.

FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “Avoidable losses, such as those that occur when a dog chases or attacks livestock, remain a significant source of frustration for the livestock sector in Wales. 

“Industry initiatives, such as the FUW campaign “Your dog, Your responsibility” which widened the message to respecting the countryside, picking up after your dog, keeping dogs on a lead near livestock and making sure dogs don’t escape from home, have had some impact but sadly we keep hearing about more incidents recently.”

FUW members set to benefit from new planning services partnership

If you need advice on pre-planning applications, reviewing constraints, project viability, and master-planning, then our new partnership with RML Consultants might be just the professional helping hand you need. The FUW is therefore excited to announce our new partner contract with the company who will deliver town and country planning services for members predominantly in North Wales. 

RML was established by Managing Director Ivor Richards OBE, in 1984, to provide multi-disciplined engineering, landscape and environmental consultancy.  Originally specialising in brownfield remediation, the company gained a reputation for high-quality design in sensitive landscapes and for applying the principles of ‘working with nature’.  RML has published national guidance documents based on decades of experience and technical expertise. 

2021 - FUW Farmhouse Breakfast Week returns with a difference

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is once again preparing for one of its key events - the annual Farmhouse Breakfast week, which will run from Monday 18 - Sunday 24 January 2021.

Under normal circumstances the FUW would be looking forward to sitting around kitchen tables with friends, family and neighbours up and down the country - sharing our thoughts, worries, concerns and anything else on our mind. Of course, given the on-going Covid-19 restrictions, the  usual way of running this campaign is sadly not an option.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “However, the ethos of sitting around the kitchen table to enjoy the wonderful produce our farmers produce from eggs, cheese, bacon, sausages to butters and yoghurts etc, is still very much do-able at home with our closest family.”

FUW President New Year's Message - by Glyn Roberts

As we enter a New Year in which we all hope to return to some kind of normality, the UK’s genuine departure from the European Union after a lengthy divorce suggests 2021 will be anything but normal, irrespective of what progress is made in tackling the current coronavirus pandemic. Having breathed a collective sigh of relief after the UK and EU finally reached agreement on Christmas Eve - thereby avoiding the nightmare of tariffs that would have reduce farmgate prices for some products by 30% or more - from 1 January 2021 we will nevertheless start to see the impacts of non-tariff barriers which will make 2021 difficult to say the least for many Welsh businesses.

As the one-hundred-plus members who joined our Brexit webinar on December 17 learned, the Export Health Certificates required by food manufacturers to export products to the EU will cost around £150 to £200 each, meaning the total UK bill for certificates alone is expected to be between £45 million and £60 million in 2021 if exports continue at current rates. This is equivalent to between 3% and 4% of the value of current UK meat exports. Meanwhile, the additional costs of these and other non-tariff barriers are estimated to be between 4% and 8% - equivalent to a reduction of between 19p and 40p per deadweight kilo based on last year’s SQQ lamb prices.

We also have certainty regarding the budget that will replace our EU Common Agricultural Policy budget: in December 2019, the UK Government announced a Welsh BPS budget that took no account of the 15% Pillar Transfer, leaving a funding gap of £42 million. Then in November this year, they announced a Welsh funding allocation that increases this funding gap for 2021-2022 to £137 million - equivalent to a cut of around 41%.

Welsh farmers breath collective sigh of relief after trade deal breakthrough

Welsh farmers and food producers have sighed a huge sigh of relief after it was revealed that the UK and EU are close to agreeing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering key Welsh products.

Speaking after news of the breakthrough broke on Wednesday evening (December 23), FUW President Glyn Roberts said: "The consequences of a no deal for farming and other industries would be catastrophic, so it was always hoped that common sense would prevail.

"However, there was always a risk that refusals to compromise on one or other side could lead to the worst case scenario."

Mr Roberts also welcomed the EU's formal listing of the UK as a 'Third Country' - a move which is essential in terms of allowing Welsh food exports to the EU.

"However, our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after 31st Decembers, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 to 8 percent."

Mr Roberts said the full text of an agreement would have to be scrutinised in order to assess the full impacts and benefits, and a number of concerns existed including in terms of seed potato exports.

"Nevertheless, the Welsh farming industry, like others the length and breadth of Great Britain, will be celebrating Christmas having breathed a huge sigh of relief that a deal seems close to being agreed."

FUW welcomes Welsh Government direct payment ceiling announcement

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement of a direct payment ceiling that will ensure Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments in 2021 remain at the same level as in 2020.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, announced on Monday (21 December) a total direct payment ceiling of £238 million for the 2021 BPS.

Speaking after the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We very much welcome the Minister’s confirmation that she intends to provide financial security for farming families and the tens of thousands of rural businesses they support at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.”

Pembrokeshire farming family highlight role industry plays in looking after the environment and producing nutritious food

Nestled in the Pembrokeshire countryside just outside of Haverfordwest, the Miles family have made their home and livelihood on a dairy farm. Having moved to the Pembrokeshire countryside in 1997 Dai, Sharron and son Llŷr farm in partnership. 

The business was started by Dai and Sharron, who took on the tenancy of Barnsley Farm, a 143 acres farm. At the time it was a stock/arable unit which they converted into an organic dairy unit starting with 33 cows and leased milk quota. In 2001 they took on a further 90 acres of pasture land and then in 2005 the neighbouring farm within the same estate. 

In 2018 they purchased the neighbouring farm Beudy Bach, from the estate and installed a modern robotic milking system on the holding and son Llyr has joined the business after returning from Aberystwyth University where he studied agriculture. 

Llŷr said: “Mum and dad have always been farming, and I’ve had an interest in farming so went to Aberystwyth Uni to study agriculture and took a year in industry, then came home. It’s what I enjoy doing and it’s what I want to do.” 

Across the holdings, the family look after 110 hectares and 35 hectares of summer grazing for the heifers and use for silage. In the milking herd they have 130 cows and 60 followers. “We predominantly keep British Friesian cows and only occasionally buy some in, but we rear our own British Friesians. They're a great, hardy breed of cow, which we graze from February to November, they produce great milk from grass,” said Llŷr. 

FUW encourages rural communities to walk away the January blues and help raise funds for the DPJ Foundation

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is taking part in one of the biggest walking challenges yet, as it joins five nations who have teamed up to inspire rural communities to take to the countryside to help improve their mental health.

The challenge, #Run1000, is calling on people to sign up to be part of one of five teams – England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the rest of the world. The competition will take place from January 1 to January 31, 2021 and will see each team run or walk 1,000 miles, with the nation that reaches the milestone first announced as the winner. The idea is for individuals to sign up and contribute as many miles as they can during January, whether that be 1 or 100. 

A team captain will lead each nation, and a private Strava group will record the collective running / walking distance - for Wales the team captain is Emma Picton-Jones from the DPJ Foundation.

Over 40 people have died on farms - it’s time to make a change, FUW says

Over 40 people have been killed on farms in the UK this year according to fatality notifications from the HSE, including nine in Wales since January 2020. The numbers bring home the harrowing reality just how dangerous farming can be and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is calling on the industry to make a change and start taking safety on farms seriously.

FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “We need to let that statistic sink in. Over 40 people have died on farms across the UK in 2020. That’s over 40 families who have lost a loved one and who are going through trauma, stress and are no doubt experiencing anxiety as well. The figure is exceptionally higher than last year and we must make changes on our farms to drastically reduce the number of fatalities.”

The FUW, as part of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership, is committed to highlighting that there are serious Health and Safety challenges on farms and through its work with the group aims to help improve the situation and to save lives on farms.

All organisations in Wales who are signed up to the ‘On Farm Health and Safety Charter for Wales' are committed to: “Working together to make farming safer”.

3rd generation farmer asks - how badly does a bovine TB breakdown affect a farmers mental health?

It has long been recognised in farming circles that a bovine TB breakdown has multiple consequences, such as loss of stock, problems with cash flow, costs of housing and feeding additional stock, loss of business control and uncertainty over the future. All of these inevitably impact on the emotional well-being of farming families. 

However, the true impact is likely to have been underestimated. Rebecca John, a third generation farmer from Pembrokeshire, is therefore asking a pertinent question - how does a TB breakdown on a farm affect our mental health? 

Familiar with the ups and downs of agriculture and livestock farming in Pembrokeshire, Rebecca is no stranger to seeing vets come and go for TB testing on the family holding Rinaston, near Haverfordwest, where they farm beef, sheep and dairy.

“We all understand to a degree that farmers who are trying to run their business under a bovine TB breakdown are at breaking point. Given that mental health is inextricably linked to farm business sustainability and solvency, we must fully understand the ground-level grass roots consequences of this disease. 

FUW reacts to Agriculture (Wales) White Paper

The FUW has reacted to the release of the Welsh Government’s Agriculture (Wales) White Paper saying the paper does little to reduce concerns regarding the impacts for families and communities of proposed sweeping changes to agricultural support.

Responding to the publication of the white paper on Wednesday (December 16), FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We all agree with the objectives of protecting and enhancing the economic, environmental and sustainability of our rural communities, which are alluded to in this white paper. 

“However, we have grave concerns about whether the nuts and bolts of the proposals will actually do this, and feel there is a great risk that the aspirations outlined in the paper will actually be undermined, particularly from the point of view of family farms and rural economics.”

UK-EU deal must be struck to avoid catastrophic impacts

The FUW says failure by the UK and EU to reach a trade deal in the coming days would be catastrophic for industries and entire communities in Wales and across the UK and must be avoided at all costs.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Even if there is a trade deal with the EU, industries are facing major challenges from non-tariff barriers at borders, with additional costs for agricultural exports estimated to be up to 10% not to mention major disruptions and practical obstacles to the flow of goods.

“These already worrying impacts will increase many fold if we fail to reach a trade agreement, in particular as a result of the tariffs that will be charged on our exports. The viability and very survival of businesses and the supply chains and jobs they support depends on a deal being struck, and talk of an ‘Australia-style deal’ is just a euphemism for a damaging no-deal.”

FUW launches online lobbying tool following cuts to rural funding

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging farmers and members of the public to use an online tool to lobby Welsh politicians over cuts to Wales’ agriculture and rural development budget announced by the UK Chancellor on 25th November.

The tool allows people to email their elected Members of Parliament and Members of the Welsh Senedd calling on them to fight for the restoration of Wales’ agriculture and rural development budget to pre-EU Exit levels in real terms - in line with promises made to Welsh and UK constituents by numerous politicians and UK Government ministers.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The UK Government has cut funding for Welsh agriculture and rural development by at least 27% and up to 41% if Pillar transfer funds are included, and the implications for the economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of our communities are severe.

“We’ve therefore set up a lobbying tool so farmers and members of the public can write to their elected representatives urging them to lobby the UK Government to ensure funding for Welsh agriculture and rural development is restored to pre-EU Exit levels.” 

FUW puts spotlight on Brexit requirements for farmers in special webinar

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting a special webinar to shed light on what technical and practical changes are required for farming businesses in Wales from 1 January 2021 onwards.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 17 December at 7pm via Zoom.

Helping to explain these changes, and translate them into practicalities, are representatives from British Meat Processors Association, Food Standards Agency, Hybu Cig Cymru and Welsh Government. The webinar is  chaired by FUW President Glyn Roberts, with closing remarks from FUW Head of Policy Nick Fenwick. 

FUW Policy Officer Teleri Fielden said: “There are significant changes occurring to the trading arrangements with UK agriculture's biggest export customer-the EU as well as new ways of working for all sections of the food supply chain in the UK. 

“This means farmers need to be aware of the impacts of these changes for their businesses. Things such as the non-tariff barriers we hear so much won’t just impact ports after December - they will affect every stage of food production, so it is important for farmers to understand potential implications for their businesses. 

“We will be joined by a team of experts who will help shed light on some of these complex issues and we look forward to welcoming you to the event.”

To register visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brexit-what-do-welsh-farmers-need-to-know-from-1-january-2021-onwards-tickets-131842270781 

Agriculture and Rural Development Cuts - FUW Number Crunch

Leaders of the Brexit campaign promised that leaving the EU would not lead to reduced funding for  farming and rural areas 

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto stated “...we will guarantee the current annual [Common  Agricultural Policy (CAP)] budget to farmers in every year of the next Parliament” 

The EU CAP budget for Wales for the period 2014-2020, confirmed on 8th November 2013 by the then Secretary  of State for Environment Owen Paterson was “…a pillar 1 (direct payment) allocation of around €2,245  million, and pillar 2 allocation of around €355 million”  (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-cap-allocations-announced )

This is a total of €2.6 billion over the seven year (2014-2020) CAP budgetary period – an average of  £331 million a year based on the £0.89/€ exchange rate fixed by the UK Government On 25th November 2020 the UK Government announced that Wales’ 2021-2022 financial year  allocation for agriculture and rural development would be £242 million - £89 million less than the  average annual EU CAP allocation for the period 2014-2020 

The £242 million figure for the 2021-2022 financial year is £95 million less than the £337 million  received in the 2019 funding ‘baseline’ defined by the UK Government to calculate Wales’ allocation The UK Government maintains that the total budget available to Wales in 2021-2022 should be judged  to be the sum of the £242 million announced on 25th November 2020 and the £95 million in unspent  EU funding from the 2014-2020 funding period 

FUW helps members prepare for lambing season

The Anglesey branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is helping members prepare for the next lambing season with a special webinar.  The webinar is open to all members and takes place via Zoom on Tuesday 8 December at 7pm. 

Joining the virtual event is Veterinary Surgeon Alwyn Llewelyn Jones BVMS, DipACVP, FRCPath, MRCVS who is going to share hints, tips and best practices on preparing the flock for the lambing season.  Mr Jones is now a veterinary pathologist on the Scottish Borders working for the Scottish Rural University College (SRUC) but has spent many years working as a vet at a local practice so will be a familiar face to many. 

Also joining the event will be Dyfrig Hughes on behalf of For Farmers to answer any nutrient related questions members might have.

FUW Anglesey County Executive Officer Alaw Jones said: “ We are looking forward to welcoming members from across Wales to this special webinar, which aims to answer any questions farmers might have in how to best prepare for the next lambing season. I look forward to virtually seeing many of you on the night.”

To book your place at the webinar, members need to contact the Anglesey County Office on 01248 750 250 or via email on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Farming Community warned of targeted fraud attacks

Dyfed-Powys Police is advising the farming community to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.

During December farmers start to receive payments through the SFP (Single Farm Payment). Information about the payments is publically available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.

The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.

The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims. 

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COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/