The Welsh Liberal Democrats have set out a package of measures to help rural areas thrive.
The party’s ‘Countryside Charter’ will create thousands of new jobs and ensure people living in rural areas have access to the facilities they need to prosper.
The Charter includes measures to improve high speed internet provision in rural areas, keep local services open and secure the future of the farming industry.
The Countryside Charter includes plans to:
- Close the gap between urban and rural areas in high speed broadband and internet provision
- Give rural firms the transport infrastructure they need to grow and compete in global markets
- Secure the future of the farming industry
- Fight to secure the long-term future of Welsh Young Farmers’ Clubs
- Keep essential local services and facilities open
- Boost rural tourism
- Help rural businesses grow and expand by continuing to improve the planning system
- Prioritise rural housing
- Help young people in rural areas develop their skills
- Support our fishing communities
Veronica German, Parliamentary candidate for Monmouth said:
“Rural areas play a large part in Britain’s economy with the rural economy worth £210bn. The Welsh Liberal Democrats want to unlock this potential so rural areas can thrive.
“In order to prosper, rural areas need good local services, appropriate infrastructure and more housing.
“It is vitally important that all parts of Wales, urban and rural, benefit from the economic recovery. For that to happen, Wales needs an economic plan which recognises the specific challenges and opportunities in rural areas.
“Only the Welsh Liberal Democrats will create a stronger economy and fairer society where everyone and every part of the UK can reach its full potential.”
We will boost the rural economy and create jobs in rural areas by bringing forward a new deal for the countryside. We will:
Close the gap between urban and rural areas in high speed broadband internet provision by rolling out high speed broadband to 99.9% of households, so that rural businesses can grow and compete in global markets.
Give rural firms the transport infrastructure they need to grow and compete in global markets. we will help people in remote areas manage petrol costs by continuing the 5p off per litre ‘fuel discount scheme’ and extending it to more areas.
Secure the future of the farming industry, by boosting the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator so that all farmers, especially the dairy industry, are paid fairly; reducing the administrative and regulatory burden; and developing an Animal Disease Strategy to lessen the risks and costs of animal disease.
Keep essential local services and facilities open by protecting rural post offices from closure and helping keep local GPs, post offices and libraries open. We will also help rural communities save things that are important to them, like local pubs and shops, by bringing forward in the Assembly a Community Right to Buy.
And we will build on our strong track record on rural tourism by helping local areas promote their attractions to the UK and globally.
Prioritise rural housing, which is seeing young families, local people and key workers priced out of rural communities. We will build 300,000 new homes across the country, including in rural areas, and we will take action to curb the high rates of second homes in many communities pricing homes out of the reach of local people, by giving local authorities new powers to charge up to 200% Council Tax on second homes.
Help young people in rural areas develop their skills by reviewing access to transport for students and apprentices in rural areas through the introduction of our Youth Concessionary Travel Scheme
Support our fishing communities by fully implementing the recent reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy, working with industry and others to develop a national plan for sustainable UK fisheries, and ensuring fair treatment for the inshore small boat fleet.