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CLA responds to House of Lords report on Rural Economy

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents around 30,000 rural landowners and businesses in England and Wales, responds to the publication of the House of Lords Rural Economy Select Committee report.

27 April 2019, at 12:30am

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “We are pleased that the unique circumstances of the rural economy have been recognised by the Lords which advocates for a dedicated rural strategy.

The report clearly highlights how the ‘one size fits all’ policy approach of successive governments has left the countryside lacking in terms of housing, employment and skills, broadband and mobile connectivity, as well as access to key services such as banks, healthcare, schools and shops.

“These are all issues which have fuelled a growing urban/rural divide and which can only be solved through planning and funding systems that proactively deliver on the three objectives of sustainable development – economy, community and the environment.

“More specifically, the report proposes to ring fence part of the shared prosperity fund for rural communities, critical for a fair deal for the countryside. In addition, it says that Ofcom should introduce rural roaming, encourage operators to share masts, and support sustainable development in rural villages through the planning rules. These are all issues which the CLA has proactively campaigned on and which will be key to unlocking a thriving rural economy.

“Only an holistic strategy embedded across government will be able to tackle these issues head on and unleash the potential of a thriving sustainable rural economy enabling people to access better quality jobs and housing in the countryside.”

“We look forward to working closely with the Lords and government to help turn this vision into a much needed reality.”