They might not feel like the most pressing events in 2021, but next week, on 6th May, there are elections taking place across the UK, with a national election in Wales and local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections across England.
CLA Cymru has been hard at work in the run-up to the election, pushing candidates to recognise the value of the rural economy and calling on them to sign up to the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign. You can their campaign video here.
The next Welsh Government will have fundamental decisions to make with a new Agriculture Bill due in the autumn. There is currently a lack of detail over how the government will move from the Basic Payments Scheme to a payment for public goods model. There is also the fundamental challenge of not creating internal markets within the UK and making sure farms on both sides of the border aren’t at a disadvantage.
There is also a raft of other challenges such as economic recovery post-Covid, support for the hospitality sector and a new planning system in the works. Whoever takes charge will have a busy time.
While opinion polls are projecting that Labour will either win a very slim majority or be a few seats short, either way, they are odds on to be the largest party. The focus will be on which party comes second, with Conservatives and Plaid Cymru battling it out in some very tight constituency races. There are, of course, smaller parties battling it out with UKIP and the Abolish the Assembly party running campaigns on the message to scrap devolution in Wales.
If you want to hear what the parties in Wales had to say for themselves on the environment, rural economy and agriculture, CLA Cymru held a hustings event earlier in the month, and the recording is available to watch here. Representatives included Welsh Government Minister Eluned Morgan (Labour), Welsh Conservatives' Rural Affairs Spokesman Janet Finch-Saunders, Plaid Cymru counterpart Llyr Gruffydd, Welsh Liberal Democrats' Leader Jane Dodds, and Green councillor Emily Durrant.