Securing resilience in farming while protecting the environment and ending the digital divide are the challenges that the next government must address if they are to deliver for the countryside. That is the message sent out by the CLA to all rural candidates seeking election in rural seats.
The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has set out five priorities as part of its effort to ensure that candidates across England and Wales are committed to the issues that matter to rural business. The CLA is also encouraging its members to get out and raise these priorities with candidates during the election campaign.
The organisation says delivering a Brexit that works for the countryside, creating the homes that rural areas need, implementing a simpler, more cost-effective planning system that encourages investment, ending the rural digital divide and applying a tax regime which encourages, rather than discriminates against rural business are crucial to help shape the future of the rural economy and its communities.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Every candidate seeking election to a rural constituency should be able to demonstrate how they will stand up for farming and the countryside. They must understand why the countryside matters and that rural communities expect the next government to face up to the big challenges, like how to support farming and the environment once the UK is no longer part of the Common Agricultural Policy.
“Encouraging more small scale housing development by making better use of existing buildings and relaxing the planning system will help alleviate the acute shortage of homes in rural areas.
“Delivering universal 4G mobile coverage is essential to modern rural life and by treating diversified rural businesses as single businesses for tax purposes will end the discrimination they currently face and allow for growth and better productivity.
“We will be out throughout the campaign speaking up for rural businesses, but it is also vital that our members challenge candidates to demonstrate their commitment to standing up for farming and the countryside in Parliament and how they intend to make a difference.”