Rural Wales faces “perfect storm” under unopposed Tories


Plaid Cymru has warned that rural communities face a "perfect storm" under a Tory government left unopposed by a weak Labour opposition.

The party’s agriculture spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts, says rural communities need a voice in Westminster to provide an opposition to "reckless" Tory policies.

Ms Saville Roberts, who is standing for re-election in the Westminster election, says the combination of increasing business rates, the weakening value of the pound and the threat of agricultural payments being stripped from rural communities makes a "perfect storm" for rural communities.

A recent revaluation of business rates hit rural areas disproportionately with businesses in Ms Saville Roberts' county of Gwynedd seeing an average increase in their business rates bill of 8.9%, with Conwy seeing a 9.2% rise and Monmouthshire 7%.

Ms Saville Roberts says the fall in the value of the pound, which has taken a sharper fall since Theresa May made her intention to pull out of the Single Market and the Customs Union clear, will impact on importers in rural areas including the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru's agriculture spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts, said:

​"Rural communities have already born a heavy burden surviving the last seven years under the so-called 'long-term economic plan' that has left rural Wales struggling to make ends meet.

"With the value of the pound tumbling as Theresa May's extreme version of Brexit gets ever nearer, rural communities are already struggling to pay for essentials like fuel and food and there's no sign of the pound gaining strength unless the Tories change course.

"Business rates in rural areas have jumped by almost 10 per cent thanks to the Government's revaluation which puts small family business under serious pressure.

"Coupled with the Tories' refusal to guarantee the continuation of farm payments, rural communities face a perfect storm unless we send a message to Westminster and elect the strongest opposition possible.

"These Tory policies will put rural Wales under severe pressure. Once farms begin to fail, the domino effect on the rest of the community will soon follow and with businesses already struggling with such a high rates burden, it is essential that we change course as a matter of urgency.

"The Labour party has never and will never represent rural communities. They are too weak to stand up to the Tories.

"The only way to defend rural Wales is to send a strong group of Plaid Cymru MPs to Westminster and create a united Welsh block in the House of Commons to stand up to the Tories.

"The strongest message rural Wales can send to Westminster is to send a Plaid Cymru MP to oppose them."

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