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First Minister to be grilled on issues facing rural Wales

08 Jul 2024 2 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image Senedd Cymru

Emily Price

First Minister Vaughan Gething will be grilled this week by a cross-party committee of politicians on issues facing rural communities in Wales.

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister is set to take place at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli on Friday (July 12).

It will see Chairs of all the other Senedd committees quiz Mr Gething for 90 minutes on rural issues.

A variety of other topics will also be raised during an hour of general scrutiny.

The Committee was created to hold the First Minister to account for his government’s performance on behalf of the people of Wales.

Protests

Top of the list of rural issues likely to be raised by Senedd politicians is the controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

The final weeks of Mark Drakeford’s tenure were marked by protests from thousands of  Welsh famers frustrated with proposed agricultural reforms.

Farming unions branded the SFS “unworkable” because it required farmers to bring their existing tree and woodland cover up to 10%, and earmark another 10% for habitat.

Both Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives raised concerns about the original set up of the scheme.

Former Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Sam Kurtz said he had never known the relationship between rural Wales and the Welsh Government to be so “fractious”.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Climate Change, Huw Irranca-Davies paused the plans when he was appointed to Mr Gething’s new cabinet.

The First Minister said the Welsh Government was taking time to “listen” to Welsh farmers before moving forward with any proposals.

Second homes

The corporate purchase of farmland is also expected to be raised by the Scrutiny Committee along with the impact of second homes and short-term lets policies on the housing market and the availability of holiday lets.

The impact of poor public transport options for rural communities and missed investment is also expected to come up along with the challenges of providing healthcare in rural areas.

The Committee meeting will be broadcast live on www.senedd.tv.


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