THE CLA has called for the creation of a Cabinetlevel Ministerial post in Welsh Government to champion the needs of communities in the Welsh countryside, and to help unlock the potential of rural businesses across Wales.
Appearing at the Welsh Assembly, CLA President Ross Murray, discussed issues affecting the rural economy of Wales with the Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee.
The CLA launched its Stan ding Up for Rural Businesses report in January to persuade politicians to unlock the potential of the rural economy.
Ross Murray said: “As the Assembly takes on ever greater powers over the way businesses are taxed and regulated and crucially how our land is managed it is vital that AMs understand and stand up for rural businesses. It is these businesses that are at the heart of the economy, sustain our communities and manage our landscapes.
“The way the Ministerial portfolios are currently structured does not reflect the great importance of the rural economy in Wales.
“The rural economy is so integral to Wales that it should be championed explicitly at the highest level, through a Minister for the Rural Economy as part of The Cabinet, as used to be the case. We are calling on all parties to commit to making this happen post the Welsh Government elections on May 5.”
“This Assembly has made significant decisions on housing, environmental regulation and economic development. As we prepare for a new Assembly term we will be asking politicians to be even more pro-active in ensuring that the policies developed over coming months will truly help unlock the great potential of rural Wales.
“The CLA is committed to standing up for rural Wales, and we are taking these messages to politicians in Cardiff as well as asking them to come and meet with rural business owners up and down the country.”
Through to the Assembly elections in May and beyond, CLA Cymru will be meeting with AMs and policy makers to help ensure the development of a coherent vision for the rural economy that delivers the right outcomes for rural areas.
The absence of a dedicated minister for rural affairs from the Welsh Labour’s last Cabinet has been widely criticised as evidence of its lack of care and understanding for rural issues, despite the importance of the agricultural industry to the Welsh economy.
With Welsh Labour possessing no constituency seats in rural areas, its conduct of government has also been savagely attacked for being concerned more with spending money in its south east Wales and Valleys heartlands than in governing in the interests of the whole of Wales.