Wales gets new rural affairs minister

For the first time Wales has a dedicated rural affairs minister following the creation of an historic Labour/Plaid Cymru coalition government in Cardiff.

Elin Jones, Plaid’s shadow agricultural spokeswoman, has been handed responsibility for rural affairs, which was formally part of the portfolio of sustainability and rural development.

However housing has been added to that ministry, which will continue to be headed by Jane Davidson.

As a result of the reshuffle announced on 19 July the assembly will have 10 ministers rather than seven when it sits again after the summer recess.

Elin Jones, AM for Ceredigion, is a farmer’s daughter who studied agricultural economics at Aberystwyth and worked for both the Development Board for Rural Wales and the Welsh Development Agency before entering full-time politics.

She is well known in farming circles for spearheading the successful campaign opposing cuts in Tir Mynydd payments to less favoured area farmers.

Her appointment was welcomed by the Farmers Union of Wales, which pressed for the appointment of a specific rural affairs minister before the assembly election in May.

Carwyn Jones, who handled farming issues in the last assembly government and took on education after the election, will be the coalition’s counsel general and minister responsible for business and communications.

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