Rural businesses contribute more than 440,000 jobs and in excess in £13 billion to the Welsh economy, and play an important part in sustaining the rural communities. All Parties must ensure that policies for the next Welsh Government help them invest and grow. This was the key message from CLA President Henry Robinson to Welsh Assembly Members ahead of next year’s elections.
He was speaking at the Senedd at a reception hosted by CLA Cymru, the membership organisation that represents nearly 3500 landowners, farmers and other rural businesses that together own over 800,000 acres of land in Wales.
He said: “The Welsh economy is essentially a rural economy and we need a Government that fully understand this. As we prepare for the Assembly election in 2016 we will be setting out the case for policies that give business owners across rural Wales the confidence to invest.
“Assembly members elected in 2016 will have a range of new powers and with them come new responsibilities to deliver for businesses. They need to push further and faster in delivering the modern and reliable infrastructure that all businesses need to compete. During this current Government, we have seen a focus on wide reaching legislation from the Well Being of Future Generations Act, Planning and housing legislation, and proposed sweeping changes to how our environment will be managed. We now need to see how the new Government will use these new powers to encourage businesses to make investments in the homes and business premises that rural communities need.
“The new legislative framework offers real opportunities but there is a need to establish structured and cross cutting partnerships that will ensure landowners and Government are working together with shared objectives to deliver the social, economic and environmental benefits aspired to.”
“Over coming weeks, at meetings and shows, we will be asking our members to share with us their thoughts and experience to help us to come forward with the practical ideas that the political parties can adopt in their own manifestos and ensure the next Government is meeting the needs of rural business.”