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Rural Economy

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 8 September 2010

10. What recent discussions she has had with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and ministerial colleagues on Government policy to assist the rural economy in Wales. (13142)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I attach great importance to rural communities in Wales and the economic challenges that they face. The Wales Office has set up a taskforce of officials to look at the rural economy and see what we can do to support and encourage growth in our rural areas.

Having contributed to the Welsh rural economy during the recess by spending a very enjoyable holiday in Wales, may I ask the Minister to say what the Government are doing to promote economic renewal and growth in the Welsh rural economy?

I am glad to hear that my hon. Friend is contributing to that economic renewal and I hope that he will continue to do so in years to come. The Wales Office is currently consulting groups that represent businesses and the rural economy, to gather their views on what we can do to help them grow in these challenging times. I have already held meetings with a number of interest groups, including the farming unions, and I look forward to taking that work forward over the autumn.

There is a company in my constituency called Desk-Link. Unfortunately it is going through difficult times. Since January, many of the staff there have been paid late. Some workers have found that their tax and national insurance contributions have not been paid. Will the Minister ensure that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Jobcentre Plus assist my constituents in getting the support to which they are entitled?

I am sorry to hear of the hon. Gentleman’s constituents’ difficulties. If he would care to write to me, I shall ensure that his representations are put forward to the appropriate Departments.