CLA calls for clarity and simplicity in new equine business report
The equine sector generates a turnover of around £5billion a year for the rural economy – but it is also one of the most fragmented sectors and without the right policy and advisory framework its economic potential will remain underexploited.
That's the message contained in a new equine business report published today (22 March) by the CLA which claims that the equine industry is being held back by restrictions on planning, insurance and tax.
The document, titled "Clearing Hurdles" was launched by equestrian legend, Lucinda Green, supported by Judith Norris, chairman of the Equine Business Working Group and CLA President and Herefordshire Landowner Harry Cotterell – who said that the aim of the document was to help promote a modern and thriving equine business sector.
CLA Director Midlands Caroline Bedell said: "Equestrian businesses represent a significant but often unrecognised economic force. Estimates indicate more than 19,000 equine businesses in the UK generate employment for more than 41,000 people - a total which rises to over 220,000 people when indirect employment is included."
In addition, some 500,000 hectares are currently dedicated to maintaining and producing horses – a figure which has been growing at a significant rate over the last five years.
"All of this points towards equine businesses playing an increasingly important role in the economy, in society and in land ownership and land management. This document is important because, for the first time, it pulls together every aspect of the policy agenda relating to the equine sector and sets out some clearly defined targets for Government and for the industry." said Mrs Bedell.
The CLA also welcomed yesterday's budget announcement that Government intends to press ahead with reforms to the planning system. One of the clearly identified needs in the report is for a planning system that was cheaper, simpler and faster to use, and which recognised the limited impact of well-managed equine businesses on the environment and landscape.
Mrs Bedell added: " For the equine business operator, shifting regulations and tax rules and complexities of the planning system mean many equine businesses fail to realise their full potential and this is an area crying out for clarity. In an Olympic year when Britain's riders will be in the world spotlight, this report could not be more timely."
The CLA also wants to see the Government
- Introduce an amendment to the Animals Act to resolve the spiralling cost of horse insurance which is forcing some equine businesses to close
- Consider deregulation for smaller business tenancies while respecting the rights of those who own property.
- Retain Small Business Rate Relief and other simply administered reliefs and to reverse the abolition of the partial exemption for empty commercial property
read the report at http://tinyurl.com/74ksyth
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Caroline Bedell MRICS FAAV
Caroline leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership.
A qualified Chartered Surveyor respected throughout the industry, she also represents the CLA on a wide range of regional committees and panels.
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