Welsh Conservatives are today outlining a series of steps the Welsh Government should take to boost rural Wales.

Introduced at the Royal Welsh Show, the plan contains seven simple steps that the Labour/Liberal coalition government could take to support rural communities in Wales.

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has recently come under fire for suggesting that farmers are “not the best people to run a business”, and Welsh Conservatives say that implementing these policies would send a strong signal to rural communities that the Welsh Government supports them.

The seven steps are:

Lowering taxes for working people;

Preventing school closures without the consent of parents and local communities;

Expanding the role of community hospitals;

Implementing a red meat charter;

Delivering fair funding for rural councils;

Protecting rural services with a local ‘right to bid’;

Increasing procurement of made-in-Wales produce.

Shadow Secretary for Rural Affairs, Paul Davies, said: “Now – more than ever – Welsh rural communities need boosted support and empowerment. With the challenges they face at an all-time high, we want to see local people having a far bigger say in the decisions that affect them.

“Our plan for rural Wales contains seven straightforward steps that the Welsh Government could make immediately to transform the lives of those living in rural communities.

“We want to see lower taxes for hardworking families, and power put in the hands of local communities to block the closure of local schools without their consent. We want to see a wider role for community hospitals, and protection for rural services with a local ‘right to bid’.

“Simple steps should also be taken to boost rural businesses, and to support Welsh produce – including the implementation of a Red Meat Charter and measures to increase procurement of made-in-Wales produce.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: “The Labour/Liberal Welsh Government should give rural communities the opportunity to make decisions for themselves. They should listen to feedback and provide all possible support for a bright and vibrant future.

“The Cabinet Secretary’s recent comments were disappointing and extremely condescending, but implementing these measures would send a strong message to rural communities and undo some of the damage they have caused.

“85% of Wales is rural, one third of the Welsh population live in rural Wales and the rural economy is worth over £13bn pounds.

“Welsh Conservatives stand up for the farming industry and the rural communities around it. It’s time for the Welsh Labour Government to do the same.”