HC Deb 17 October 2001 vol 372 cc1254-5W
25. Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the National Assembly for Wales regarding the state of the rural economy following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. [4216]

Mr. Paul Murphy

I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a wide range of issues, including the rural economy in Wales.

The recent declines in rural incomes are attributable to prices for most commodities falling sharply due to market conditions, economic difficulties in Russia and Asia, and the strength of sterling, as well as the foot and mouth outbreak. We cannot ignore these difficulties, but must respond positively to the challenges. I understand that the National Assembly's Advisory Group is advising on how best to tackle these challenges in a way which best meets the needs of rural Wales.