As Parliament prepares to dissolve before the General Election on 7 May, the CLA has stepped up its own campaign to influence parliamentary candidates to commit to supporting rural businesses.
More than 30 candidates, including every Secretary of State for Defra since 2011, have now signed up to the CLA Pledge for a Thriving Countryside which aims to engage politicians on the issues that matter to people who live and work in rural areas. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid pledged to improve access to broadband and mobile coverage; Defra Shadow Minister Huw Irranca-Davies confirmed he would put in place a long-term plan for food, farming and fisheries and former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, signed up to help grow the rural economy.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “Across the country the CLA is making sure candidates know what the next government must do to promote thriving rural businesses. It is vital that candidates understand that this is vital to maintaining vibrant countryside communities and make a significant contribution to Britain’s GDP.
“We are delighted with the number of candidates that are making the CLA Pledge. It’s a great way for them to show they recognise the responsibility they have to champion those who live and work in the countryside.”
Keep up to date with developments affecting rural business via the CLA’s Election Centre www.cla.org.uk/election, an online resource reporting election policy announcements on rural interests. A new online film from the CLA aimed at showcasing what rural business could achieve given the right government policies will be live on the Election Centre web page from 26 March.
For the full list of Pledge signatories and photos, visit www.cla.org.uk/cla-election-pledges.