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David Davies: Making the Assembly work for Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"This will be the last time that I speak in the Chamber, which may give as much pleasure to some of my colleagues as it does to Members of the opposition. I am delighted to be speaking about agricultural matters, which are close to my heart, as is supporting rural communities.

Before I do so, I wish to pay tribute to the Presiding Officer, who has been truly excellent for the National Assembly—and I say that as someone who opposed it. He has given this place a sense of dignity and decorum that some of us would rather it did not have. He is a man who has succeeded in politics and his career will not have been a political failure, unlike the careers of many of the rest us.

I have enjoyed the robust debate that has taken place inside and outside the Chamber, with Members from all sides. If you go into politics, you should be willing and able to express your opinions, and I have enjoyed listening to Carl Sargeant and Leanne Wood, in particular, and many others, with whom I sometimes feel I have more in common than they probably realise, or would wish.

We have an opportunity today to do something for people in Wales. Whatever my views on the Assembly, I believe that we should make the most of our time here and we should be willing to do things and to use the powers that we have to the best of our ability. We have the power and the opportunity today to do something for some of the most hard-pressed people in Wales, namely rural hill farmers.

Some of the things that have happened over the past few years, such as the foot and mouth disease outbreak, were disasters that could not have been prevented, but other things that have hit rural communities could possibly have been prevented.

All sorts of formulae to give money to local authorities take little account of rurality, and formulae are used to calculate deprivation that do not take proper account of average incomes, but rather consider how many people are on benefits. We know that many rural farmers earn a lot less than they would if they sold their farms and claimed benefits—not that I am suggesting for one minute that they should do so.

I believe that most Members became candidates because they have the best interests of their constituents at heart—I say that to every Member of every party; I leave here today with no bad feelings about any of them. I ask Members to reconsider this motion before us, which is not going to remove any money from any other environmental or agricultural budget and which could make a real difference to a very hard-pressed community. I ask Labour Members to reconsider their opposition to it.

It has been a pleasure to work with every Member from every party. I think that it is important that Members of Parliament can work with Assembly Members from every party to ensure a prosperous future for Wales. Thank you very much."

"Dyma'r tro olaf y gwnaf siarad yn y Siambr, a allai roi cymaint o bleser i rai o'm cyd-Aelodau ag a gwnaiff i Aelodau'r gwrthbleidiau. Yr wyf yn falch iawn o gael siarad am faterion amaethyddol, sy'n bwysig iawn imi, fel y mae cefnogi cymunedau gwledig. Cyn imi wneud hynny, hoffwn dalu teyrnged i'r Llywydd, sydd wedi bod yn wirioneddol wych i'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol—a dywedaf hynny fel rhywun a oedd yn gwrthwynebu'r syniad.

Mae wedi rhoi ymdeimlad o urddas a gwedduster i'r lle, y byddai'n well gan rai ohonom iddo fod hebddynt. Mae'n ddyn sydd wedi llwyddo ym myd gwleidyddiaeth ac ni fydd ei yrfa wedi bod yn fethiant gwleidyddol, yn wahanol i yrfaoedd sawl un ohonom. Yr wyf wedi mwynhau'r dadlau brwd sydd wedi digwydd y tu mewn i'r Siambr a'r tu allan iddi, gydag Aelodau o bob ochr. Os camwch i fyd gwleidyddiaeth, dylech fod yn barod i fynegi barn a dylech allu wneud hynny, ac yr wyf wedi mwynhau gwrando ar Carl Sargeant a Leanne Wood, yn arbennig, a sawl un arall, yr wyf weithiau yn teimlo bod gennyf fwy yn gyffredin â hwy nag y maent yn ei sylweddoli yn fwy na thebyg, neu y byddent yn dymuno sylweddoli.

Mae gennym gyfle heddiw i wneud rhywbeth i bobl Cymru. Pa farn bynnag sydd gennyf am y Cynulliad, credaf y dylem wneud y mwyaf o'n hamser yma ac y dylem fod yn barod i wneud pethau ac i ddefnyddio'r pwerau sydd gennym hyd eithaf ein gallu. Heddiw, mae gennym y pwer a'r cyfle i wneud rhywbeth i rai o'r bobl sydd o dan y pwysau mwyaf yng Nghymru, sef ffermwyr mynydd.

Yr oedd rhai o'r pethau sydd wedi digwydd dros yr ychydig flynyddoedd diwethaf, megis argyfwng clwy'r traed a'r genau, yn drychinebau na ellid bod wedi eu hatal, ond gellid bod wedi atal pethau eraill sydd wedi effeithio ar gymunedau gwledig o bosibl. Prin y mae pob math o fformiwla i roi arian i awdurdodau lleol yn ystyried gwledigrwydd, a defnyddir fformiwlâu i gyfrifo amddifadedd nad ydynt yn ystyried incymau cyfartalog yn briodol, ond yn hytrach ystyrir faint o bobl sy'n cael budd-daliadau. Gwyddom fod llawer o ffermwyr gwledig yn ennill tipyn yn llai nag y byddent yn ei ennil pe byddent yn gwerthu eu ffermydd ac yn hawlio budd-daliadau—er nad wyf yn awgrymu am eiliad y dylent wneud hynny.

Credaf i'r rhan fwyaf o Aelodau ddod yn ymgeiswyr am fod budd eu hetholwyr yn hollbwysig iddynt—dywedaf hynny wrth bob Aelod o bob plaid; gadawaf yma heddiw heb unrhyw deimladau drwg am unrhyw un ohonynt. Gofynnaf i'r Aelodau ailystyried y cynnig hwn ger ein bron, nad yw'n mynd i ddileu unrhyw arian o unrhyw gyllideb amgylcheddol neu amaethyddol arall ac a allai wneud gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol i gymuned sydd o dan bwysau mawr. Gofynnaf i'r Aelodau Llafur ailystyried eu penderfyniad i'w wrthwynebu.

Bu'n bleser gweithio gyda phob Aelod o bob plaid. Credaf ei bod yn bwysig bod Aelodau Seneddol yn gallu gweithio gydag Aelodau'r Cynulliad o bob plaid i sicrhau dyfodol llewyrchus i Gymru. Diolch yn fawr."

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