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Upland Farming

Volume 525: debated on Wednesday 16 March 2011

9. What recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on upland farming in Wales. (45739)

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Assembly Government on a range of issues affecting Wales, including the farming industry. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I recognise how important the rural economy is to Wales and take a close interest in matters affecting it, including farming on the Welsh uplands.

Does the Minister agree that the Welsh Assembly should work well with the Government to ensure that we have a clear strategy for upland and dairy farming, and that that objective would be more easily met through the introduction of an adjudicator to examine abuses of power in the retail sector?

Yes, indeed; I agree that the Welsh Assembly Government should work closely with the Government here in Westminster. My hon. Friend will be aware that it is the Government’s intention to establish a groceries code adjudicator to oversee disputes between retailers and suppliers.

Getting animals to market is important for upland farmers in Blaenau Gwent. Does the Minister agree that east-west road improvements are vital for boosting the heads of the valleys economy? Will he update us on the road improvements between Brynmawr and Abergavenny, and tell us when they will start?

It would appear to me that those are matters for the Welsh Assembly Government, but if the hon. Gentleman would care to write to me, I will consider the matter further.