Glyn Preston Launches Rural Rescue Plan

22 Jun 2024
Cllr Glyn Preston on a farm.

Welsh Party Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds has attacked the Conservative Government for neglecting rural communities over many years, while also criticizing the Welsh Labour Government for not understanding or even attempting to understand communities outside of their urban heartlands.

Jane Dodds, flanked by her party's two Mid Wales candidates, David Chadwick for Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe and Glyn Preston for Montgomeryshire & Glyndwr outlined the Welsh Liberal Democrats' promises to deliver extra funding to restore rural bus routes, a £50 million boost to support Welsh agriculture and expanding the rural fuel duty relief scheme to Wales.

Previous estimates show that the number of registered bus routes in Wales has fallen from 129 million km in 2005 to 84 million km in 2024, a decline of 35 per cent. It is estimated a total of almost 10% of Wales’ entire bus routes were axed last summer after the Welsh Labour Government abruptly ended pandemic-era emergency funding.

Labour has also announced cuts to the Government-owned Transport for Wales rail services on the Cambrian & Heart of Wales lines which are vital for communities across Mid and North Wales.

The party is promising to give local councils new powers to restore bus routes and add new ones “where there is local need” with a particular focus on rural areas.

Other Welsh Liberal Democrat promises ahead of the July 4 poll include expanding the rural fuel duty relief scheme to Wales (it currently only covers rural parts of Scotland and England) and ensuring gigabit broadband is available to all homes and businesses.

A nationwide “pumpwatch” scheme would also be created, allowing drivers to access real-time petrol and diesel price data on mobile devices and through services such as Google Maps.

Further pledges include a “strategic small surgeries fund” to sustain GP practices in rural areas and enhancing council powers over pubs and community farms so vital rural infrastructure can be protected.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“People across rural Wales are fed up with being neglected and let down by a Conservative UK Government and misunderstood and forgotten about by a Welsh Labour Government.

“Farmers are under pressure from Labour's botched sustainable farming scheme and the Conservatives' awful trade deals. Meanwhile, those in our towns and villages cannot get a GP or dentist appointment and are bearing the brunt of cuts to public transport. Business cannot take advantage of changing working habits because internet speeds lag so far behind.

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Montgomeryshire & Glyndwr and local Llanidloes Cllr Glyn Preston said:    

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats' roots are in rural communities, it's where we come from and rural issues are something we really understand.

“That’s why we’ve set out a rural rescue package and why I would stand up for our communities in Westminster and give them the fair deal they badly need.”


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