As we begin the 100th Royal Welsh Show, Paul Davies AM, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, is calling for a new Cabinet position in the Welsh Government to be created to ensure that the voice of rural Wales is heard at the highest levels.
Currently, the development of the rural Welsh economy sits alongside energy production, climate change, water and animal welfare.
The announcement comes as Llanelwedd prepares to welcome once again nearly a quarter of a million people to the show, where the Welsh Conservatives will be present with a stand on Avenue D.
This year the Party will also be launching a petition calling on the Welsh Labour Government to bring in a ban on single-use plastics such as straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds; with consideration made for those with disabilities to use them if they choose.
The Welsh Conservatives will also be giving away environmentally-friendly freebies replacing plastic wristbands and stickers with paper wristbands which contain a mixture of wildflower seeds for people to plant after the show, bamboo travel mugs, and the Party has ditched plastic pens for pencils which can also be planted after use to grow flowers.
Paul Davies commented:
“As we head to the Royal Welsh Show to celebrate and recognise the hard work and dedication of our rural communities and businesses who are the life-blood of rural Wales, we must seize this opportunity to take action and make sure they are a priority for the Welsh Government.
“A future Welsh Conservative Government will introduce a new cabinet position, a Minister for Rural Communities, to work across different government departments to make sure that our rural areas have everything they need to grow, to secure real change for our countryside and ensure that some of our greatest exports can succeed long into the future.”
Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Andrew RT Davies AM added:
“A vibrant rural economy is vital for Wales’ economic prosperity but for the past twenty years our rural communities have been sorely neglected by the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.
“A dedicated minister at the Cabinet table has brought success and increased focus in Scotland and ensures the rural economy is put front and centre of a government’s priorities.
“With Brexit delivering more powers and control to Wales, we have the opportunity to turbocharge our rural areas by improving support for key sectors such as agriculture and forestry, increasing take-home pay, and ensuring broadband connectivity reaches every home and business in the land.
“No rural area should be left behind and appointing a minister with this sole purpose would help close the prosperity and opportunity gap which currently exists, and ensure we develop a rural economy in Wales that is fit for the future.”