Welsh politicians call for new rural ministerial role

Politicians have called for a new cabinet role to solely concentrate on Welsh rural areas
Politicians have called for a new cabinet role to solely concentrate on Welsh rural areas

A new cabinet position focused entirely on rural affairs in the Welsh government is needed to 'turbocharge' the countryside, Conservatives say.

A 'Minister for Rural Communities' position would ensure that the voice of rural Wales is 'heard at the highest levels'.

Currently, the development of the rural Welsh economy sits alongside energy production, climate change, water and animal welfare.

But Paul Davies AM, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said the proposed role would 'turbocharge' rural issues and Welsh farming.

Mr Davies said: “As we head to the Royal Welsh Show, we must seize this opportunity to take action and make sure [rural areas] are a priority for the Welsh government.

“A future Welsh Conservative government will introduce a new cabinet position to work across government departments to make sure that rural areas have everything they need to grow.”

Welsh politicians use Scotland as an example of such a role, where Fergus Ewing is Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy.

The role is responsible for rural Scotland, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, food and drink, and crofting.

According to Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Andrew RT Davies AM, he said such a role has brought 'success' for Scotland.

“A dedicated minister at the Cabinet table has brought increased focus in Scotland and ensures the rural economy is put front and centre of a government’s priorities.

“With Brexit delivering more control to Wales, we have the opportunity to turbocharge rural areas by improving support for sectors such as agriculture, increasing take-home pay, and ensuring broadband connectivity reaches every home.

“No rural area should be left behind and appointing a minister with this sole purpose would help close the prosperity and opportunity gap which currently exists,” Mr Davies said.