Over the summer, I met with farming unions at the Royal Welsh Show and I have also attended an event marking the importance of Welsh farming and food to our economy. It is vital that Welsh Government and food producers work together to ensure that the food and farming sector in Wales flourishes.
After all, the food supply chain is worth £6billion annually to the Welsh economy and employs nearly a quarter of a million people.
The decision to leave the EU and uncertainty over how support for farming through the Common Agricultural Policy will continue in future, means our farmers faces a time of worry. As NFU Cymru pointed out though, our passionate, dedicated and skilled farmers are leading the way in technological advances. There’s also a demand for high-quality food. Both of these were on display at last week’s Pembrokeshire County Show.
Good quality public transport is important to most people. If you’re resident in Wales and aged 60 and over, or have a disability, you can apply for free travel on local bus services throughout the principality thanks to the Welsh Government’s free bus travel scheme.
The free bus travel scheme has been a huge success, but some residents who are entitled to a pass are not applying. It couldn’t be easier to apply and you can do so by contacting your local authority.
Despite the cuts imposed on the Welsh Government budget by the Tories in Westminster, the Welsh Labour Government have protected the scheme because they know how important it is, especially in more rural areas to be able to get about. This is in stark contrast to parts of England where bus pass provision has been cut back.
Transport links are vital in a rural region like Mid and West Wales. That’s just one of the areas I’m speaking to people about as I travel round the region hearing from them about what’s needed in an economic strategy that will benefit our type of communities. What I’ve heard from you so far is that as well as good transport links, we need better broadband, we need accessible services (which includes good healthcare). These are the building blocks of our economy.