The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has written to Tory leadership contestants Jeremy Hunt MP and Boris Johnson MP seeking five pledges for the rural economy, focusing on the particular needs of country communities and businesses.
The pledges are: to introduce a long-term funding settlement for agriculture, forestry and the environment. The CLA suggests that the lack of certainty around funding is stifling investment as businesses are waiting to see what will happen next.
A commitment to prohibiting food products produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards from coming into the UK.
Ensuring a fully connected countryside through legally binding mobile targets and public investment to improve broadband and mobile connectivity.
Putting landowners at the heart of rural housing delivery with tax incentives; and creating a taxation system that works for rural businesses. As many rural businesses have multiple elements, all of which are taxed differently, the CLA is calling for the creation of a single rural business unit that would allow all elements to be taxed as a single entity, reducing administration and better reflecting the nature of these businesses.
“We cannot continue with a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to policymaking,” says Tim Breitmeyer, president of the CLA. “By backing these five pledges, the next Prime Minister – whoever it will be – is making a very public commitment to ensuring the particular needs of the countryside are both recognised and met. Our membership looks forward to hearing from Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson soon.”