“Elections are critical in a democracy, but shouldn’t delay tackling the country’s priorities. Given a result, a new government needs to be formed as soon as possible. We need to rev-up rural economic recovery and deliver the nuts and bolts of the new structure to support Welsh agriculture,” says Nigel Hollett, Director CLA Cymru.
“New government: new start. But many rural businesses don’t share a feeling of newness. Whatever the election outcome, the new Welsh Government straight-away needs to pick-up where the last one left-off. There’s little time for a honeymoon-period while many rural businesses are still struggling. We must remember we’ve come out of lockdown before, but the medical emergency brought restrictions back. Livelihoods in the Welsh tourism and hospitality sectors were put-on-hold – many of these are inextricably bound with farming – the backbone of our rural community. Many of these businesses need a long period of good trade to recover as much as over a year’s losses.”
Nigel Hollett says: the planning system, tax system, our communications infrastructure and how we embrace innovation and skills-development – these are all critical building-blocks to create a more resilient and prosperous rural economy.”
“Vital lessons must be learned about how rural businesses fared where inconsistencies existed between Wales and England’s guidelines and difficulty existed in predicting re-opening. Businesses thrive on security and stability, but the absence of these halts businesses investing in stock, staff and marketing.”
“At the core of the rural economy, farming faces the greatest set of changes this vital industry has seen for several working generations. The last Welsh Government’s White Paper on Agriculture lies in limbo waiting for the attention of the next government. The new administration needs to get cracking to ensure Wales’ scheme is workable on the ground and ready-to-go consistently with other parts of the UK.”
Nigel says, “Rural issues must matter – and be seen to matter in next week’s Senedd election. The campaign is the time when politicians listen to voters most – and election-day is the rural voter’s chance to judge who is really listening on rural issues.”