This is the most comprehensive record of Welsh Government progress ever produced and tracks what is being delivered and delivers on the pledge of the Cabinet to remain open and transparent in its work.
For my part, I’m proud to see what has already been achieved by this Government. Of course, as Deputy Minister for Agriculture, I’m especially proud of what is being delivered by my team and by colleagues in the Welsh Government.
It’s pleasing to see that rural household incomes, an important indicator of economic well-being, have been improving relative to Wales as a whole for a number of years. The percentage of rural businesses with access to basic broadband is now very close to the percentage for premises in urban Wales.
However, there’s still work to do and a long way to go, and the percentage of rural households with access to high speed broadband is much lower that that of urban communities .
The Welsh Government is addressing this. While work continues towards delivering Next Generation Broadband in Wales, the Welsh Government’s Broadband Support Scheme is addressing availability of 2Mbps services across all parts of Wales by providing householders and business people up to £1,000 funding to upgrade their broadband delivery.
Delivery of the Rural Development Plan is in line with our targets. There has been a total investment of £106m in the agriculture and forestry sectors supported by a further £25m of support for initiatives across the supply chains.
We are developing a more focused set of priorities to take forward the Food Strategy to grow the food and drink industry across Wales. Meanwhile, Value Wales is continuing to promote good practice in food procurement to the public sector via the on-line Food "Procurement Route Planner."
The percentage of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct payments made to farmers in Wales before Christmas rose to nearly 88% in 2011.
There have been achievements across Welsh Government responsibilities in the past 12 months. For example, we can celebrate quicker access to NHS services and the deployment or training of 165 extra police community support officers - with a target of 500 new recruits being trained and deployed by September 2013.
The ongoing economic crisis across the world and, in particular, the financial turmoil in the Euro Zone, mean there are tough times ahead. Although control of the macro economic levers remains in the hands of the UK Government, I remain positive about the progress the Welsh Government has made here in Wales in just 12 months, and stay resolute in continuing to achieve the best for our rural communities in Wales.
There will be hard decisions to take and an inevitable period of adjustment following substantial changes in Welsh farming and the policies that govern it. We need to be realistic about the challenges we face, so we can prioritise the actions we need to take.
I remain committed to negotiating reforms of the Common Agriculture Policy in Europe and to representing the needs of Wales and Welsh farmers in the strongest possible terms. I will continue to engage with the farming unions, and most importantly working Welsh farmers in the development of policy that affects their everyday lives.
I also recognise the extreme economic and cultural importance of the Welsh food and drink sector and will always do everything within my power to make sure these industries go from strength to strength.