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Welsh Liberal Democrats announce rural rescue plan

21 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Jane Dodds MS, David Chadwick and Glyn Preston

Emily Price

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced their rural rescue plan for Wales at a farm in Brecon unveiling a raft of policies aimed at rural voters.

Welsh Party Leader Jane Dodds accused the UK Government of neglecting rural communities and criticised the Welsh Government for “not understanding or even attempting to understand” communities outside of their urban heartlands.

This year, farmers have taken part in several tractor protests both in Wales and in Westminster.

More than 100 tractors rolled past the Houses of Parliament as farmers protested against a lack of support for UK food production.

Similarly, three thousand people descended on the Senedd in protest against the Welsh Government’s proposed overhaul of farming subsidies.

Fuel duty

Ms Dodds was joined by her party’s two mid Wales candidates, David Chadwick for Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe and Glyn Preston for Montgomeryshire & Glyndwr on Friday (June 21).

They outlined their plans to deliver a £50 million boost to Welsh agriculture, expanding the rural fuel duty relief scheme to Wales and extra funding to restore rural bus routes.

The number of registered bus routes in Wales has fallen from 129 million km in 2005 to 84 million km in 2024 – a decline of 35 per cent.

It is estimated a total of almost 10% of Wales’ entire bus routes were axed last summer after the Welsh Government ended pandemic-era emergency funding.

Cuts to Transport for Wales rail services on the Cambrian & Heart of Wales lines have also been announced.

The Lib Dems have pledged to give local councils new powers to restore bus routes and add new ones “where there is local need”.

Broadband

Other promises ahead of the July 4 vote include expanding the rural fuel duty relief scheme to Wales (it currently only covers rural parts of Scotland and England) and ensuring gigabit broadband is available to all homes and businesses.

A nationwide “pump watch” scheme would also be created under the Lib Dems allowing drivers to access real-time petrol and diesel price data on mobile devices and through services such as Google Maps.

Further pledges include a “strategic small surgeries fund” to sustain GP practices in rural areas and enhancing council powers over pubs and community farms so vital rural infrastructure can be protected.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “People across rural Wales are fed up with being neglected and let down by a Conservative UK Government and misunderstood and forgotten about by a Welsh Labour Government.

“Farmers are under pressure from Labour’s botched sustainable farming scheme and the Conservatives’ awful trade deals.

“Meanwhile, those in our towns and villages cannot get a GP or dentist appointment and are bearing the brunt of cuts to public transport. Business cannot take advantage of changing working habits because internet speeds lag so far behind.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ roots are in rural communities, it’s where we come from, and rural issues are something we really understand.

“That’s why we’ve set out a rural rescue package and why Welsh Liberal Democrat MPs would stand up for rural people in Westminster and give them the fair deal they badly need.”


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
27 days ago

There will never be a rural rescue in our country from anyone blue, red or yellow/orange from afar in Westminster nor from anywhere other than a Senedd committed absolutely to OUR country. A UK general election may be pending but Jane Dodds has a comfortable two year cushion to put clear yellow/orange water in place between her and Davey by the time our 2026 election takes place. This can only be done by sitting down with all of Plaid Cymru, persuading Welsh Labour likeminds and herself that only an independent Cymru can deliver this by protecting our nation from Empire… Read more »

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