Rural priorities for the 2017 General Election

Published May 10th, 2017

Securing resilience in farming, protecting the environment and ending the digital divide are among the challenges that the next government must address if they are to deliver for the countryside.

That is the message the CLA is sending to prospective parliamentary candidates in rural seats, as well as encouraging its members to raise these priorities with their own candidates during the election campaign.

The CLA represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, and has set out five priorities that it says the next government should adopt to show they understand why the countryside matters and what is needed to ensure it thrives.

The five priorities are:

  • Deliver a Brexit that works for the countryside
  • Create the homes that rural communities need
  • Implement a simpler, more cost-effective planning system in rural areas
  • End the digital divide for rural communities
  • Design a tax regime that encourages and does not discriminate against rural businesses

CLA Midlands Regional Director Caroline Bedell 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 and broadband connectivity is essential to modern rural life and treating diversified rural businesses as single businesses for tax purposes will end the discrimination they currently face and allow for growth and better productivity.

“Throughout the campaign we will be speaking up for farmers, landowners and rural businesses. I would also ask everyone who wants to see a living, working countryside challenge candidates to demonstrate how they intend to make a real commitment to farming and the countryside if elected.”