New First Minister Vaughan Gething needs to reset the relationship with rural Wales, CLA says

CLA welcomes Economy Minister into role, at a crucial time for Welsh rural sector
Vaughan Gething
Vaughan Gething becomes First Minister at a time when Welsh rural issues are rarely out of the headlines. Credit

The CLA has urged the new First Minister of Wales to reset the relationship with the Welsh rural sector.

Vaughan Gething won the Welsh Labour leadership election over the weekend with 51.7% of the vote, beating his rival Jeremy Miles. He will replace Mark Drakeford in the role, who has held the role since 2018.

CLA Cymru Director Victoria Bond said:

"We welcome Vaughan Gething to his new role and we look forward to working together at such a crucial time for farming and the rural economy in Wales.

"Mr Gething needs to reset the relationship with rural Wales. We want to carry on feeding the nation, we want to grow the economy and create good jobs – but we cannot do that alone. We need a government that respects the traditions and shares the ambitions of our rural communities.

"As the Senedd Cross Party Group for Rural Growth's landmark report concluded earlier this month, persistently low economic productivity is hampering rural businesses across Wales.

“Farmers, landowners and rural businesses are dynamic and forward-thinking, helping to feed the nation, create jobs, build homes, fight climate change and look after the environment. With the right support and ambition the full potential of the Welsh countryside can be unlocked."

Time of change

The change in leadership comes at a crucial time for the rural economy in Wales, with a number of farming protests and demonstrations held outside the Senedd and elsewhere in recent weeks.

Much of the concern centres on the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme, which would force farmers to commit to having trees on 10% of their land, and earmark another 10% as wildlife habitat.

Mr Gething was born in Zambia, where his mother was a chicken farmer, and brought up in Dorset. He was educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, and was a solicitor and former partner at Thompsons.

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