Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Minister for Europe David Lidington are among the first parliamentary candidates to commit to supporting rural businesses by signing the CLA Pledge for a Thriving Countryside.
The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, will launch the Pledge today at the Countryside Hustings. This event will see Liz Truss debate rural issues with Shadow Minister Huw Irranca-Davies and Liberal Democrat Lord Redesdale in front of an audience of CLA Members in central London.
Chaired by BBC Radio 4 Farming Today’s Charlotte Smith, the event provides a forum for CLA Members to quiz the hustings panel on issues such as flood defence works; the delivery of environmental schemes alongside commercial agriculture; and rural broadband.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “Through our Pledge we are asking General Election candidates to commit to action in support of rural businesses if they are elected to Parliament in May. As well as making a significant contribution to the country’s GDP, thriving businesses are central to maintaining vibrant communities in the countryside. Too often we see Government policy ignore rural businesses and the CLA Pledge encourages candidates across England and Wales to recognise their responsibility to support those who live and work in the countryside.”
Also launched today is the CLA Election Centre, an online resource at www.cla.org.uk/election to report on election policy announcements relating to rural interests. The Election Centre also provides support to rural business owners seeking to ensure their voice is heard by general election candidates in their constituency.
In addition to Liz Truss and David Lidington, the CLA Pledge for a Thriving Countryside has been signed by Tim Farron MP (former President of the Liberal Democrats); Conservative MP Julian Sturdy; and Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale John Bateson. For the full list of Pledge signatories and photos visit www.cla.org.uk/cla-election-pledges.