Politicians to discuss future of rural Wales post-Brexit

18 October 2016

The CLA will ask Welsh MPs to ensure that the distinct needs of farms and rural businesses in Wales are not overlooked as the UK prepares for Brexit.

The organisation will make this appeal on 19 October when it brings together MPs representing constituencies across Wales in Westminster for a cross-party discussion on the future of the Welsh rural economy after Brexit. Hosted by Mark Williams MP for Ceredigion, the CLA is creating this forum for discussion as part of the CLA’s ‘New Opportunities’ campaign to ensure that farming, the rural economy and the environment are treated as priorities by UK governments as the UK prepares for Brexit.

Following the discussion, CLA President Ross Murray and CLA Cymru Director Rebecca Williams will meet with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales Guto Bebb to discuss the particular needs and concerns of rural businesses in Wales.

CLA Cymru Director Rebecca Williams said: “Farmers and other rural business owners across Wales are looking to the UK and Welsh Government to work together effectively in planning for a future outside the EU.

“Currently critical policy issues related to agricultural and rural economic development policy are delivered by the Welsh Government working within an EU framework. Once the UK has exited the EU it will mean a new dynamic in the relationship between Westminster and Cardiff. Our hope and expectation is that the result will be a strengthened relationship which reinforces the powers of Welsh Cabinet Secretaries and the Assembly.

“We are absolutely clear that the priority has to be what is in the best interest of businesses and people working in rural Wales. Politicians must ensure that the settlement is fair and comprehensive and that it provides adequate resources to meet rural economic and environmental policy objectives and that businesses are fully consulted at every stage.

“We are looking forward to this opportunity to talk with our MPs about how they can make sure that an optimum solution is presented to Welsh farmers and business leaders.”

The CLA published a briefing paper in September exploring the impacts of Brexit on rural businesses in Wales and Scotland, as part of its series of ‘New Opportunities’ papers covering the key Brexit issues for farming and rural businesses in the UK. It sets out the following priorities for Welsh Cabinet Secretaries and Scottish Ministers to support rural businesses in Wales and Scotland:

  • The devolved nations must be part of a UK food, farming and environmental policy framework 
  • The framework must respect and support the devolved structure 
  • A fair and transparent funding structure must be put in place
  • The framework must enhance collaboration between Government and industry
  • Develop a strategic approach to the rural economy and land use