Local Assembly Member for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, yesterday questioned the Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, on the Welsh Government’s policies to support our rural economy.
During the exchange Mr Ramsay said: “ Last Saturday, I'm sure you were aware, was Small Business Saturday. I, like many other Assembly Members, was out campaigning for local businesses. I visited Neil James, a small, local butcher in rural Monmouthshire, whose family has been supporting Welsh farmers in supplying local produce since the 1950s. The business is frequently nominated for the Countryside Alliance awards, this year being no exception.
“We talk a lot in this Chamber about supporting local businesses, but what particular support are you—and I should add, the economy Minister, as well, because this is obviously a cross-cutting area—making available to small, particularly rural, firms like Neil James so that people in rural areas can go on buying local, and supporting local supply chains, local shops and, of course, the farming community that is behind all of those local supply chains?”
Lesley Griffiths AM replied: “Thank you. The agri-food sector is obviously a very important sector for Welsh Government and for Wales, and it's really important that we do have these small businesses, like the butchers you refer to, to support our farmers. Obviously, I know that farmers feel very under threat at the moment around red meat production, for instance, and I always say, 'If you want to support our farmers, the way to do it is to buy local, because you know that meat has been produced sustainably and it hasn't travelled many miles.'