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Rural Economy

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with (a) First Minister of the National Assembly, (b) the National Farmers Union of Wales, (c) the Farmers Union of Wales and (d) the Country Land and Business Association on the impact on the Welsh rural economy of the decreasing number of agricultural holdings in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [119336]

[holding answer 16 June 2003]: I have regular meetings with the First Secretary to discuss a variety of issues in relation to agriculture. I have not yet met with any of the farming unions or the Country Land and Business Association.As with most rural issues, agriculture is fully devolved to the Assembly and it would therefore be for the Welsh Assembly Government to handle these issues. However, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales has regular meetings with the Assembly Minister for Environment, Planning and the Countryside to discuss a variety of issues. My ministerial colleague and I would be happy to meet with representatives from the Farming Unions and the Country Land and Business Association.