Q. What is the CLA?
A. The CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales. We have excellent access to ministers and decision makers and lobby effectively to protect the interests of our members. We also provide our members with professional advice. The CLA speaks for everyone who believes in a living and working countryside.
Q. Who can join?
A. Anyone with an interest in the countryside can join the CLA. As the focus of our lobbying activity and advice is on those who own rural land and the ability to make a living from it, the majority of our members are landowners. However, CLA membership offers a range of benefits for professionals and business men and women working in the rural community, as well as those who are simply interested in rural life.
Q. How will membership benefit me?
A. There are many organisations spending millions of pounds to lobby against you and your rights as a private landowner. With farmland valued at an average of £6,000 per acre, plus the value of your property and business interests, you will soon see just how much is at stake. In addition, the cost of an hour’s professional advice is at the very least £100 but usually much higher. All in all, your CLA subscription represents a small amount to pay to protect your assets and make the CLA your voice in Government.
Q. What if I already belong to another rural or farming organisation?
A. Many CLA members belong to one or more other organisations and the CLA also works closely with other bodies from time to time in pursuing our lobbying and policy goals. However, the CLA is the only organisation that works solely to protect the interests of rural landowners. If you own any rural land, property or business then you need to be a member of the CLA in order to protect the value of these assets. The more members and acreage we represent, the more powerful our voice.
Q. How long do I have to join for?
A. Membership lasts for a year at a time and you can join at any point in the year.
Q. I own some land but have heard that CLA membership is geared towards larger landowners – is this true?
A. CLA represents all landowners from the largest to the smallest; a quarter of our members own less than 100 acres and many own less than 10.
Q. I spend most of my working week in London – can I still join?
A. CLA benefits can be accessed wherever you are. Although CLA membership is regionally structured – as a member you will be assigned a Regional Director, put in touch with your local committee and invited to regional events – those who live or work in London can also join CLA London Branch for an additional fee. This consists of a regular series of policy-based and social meetings at London venues in the early evening.
Q. I have recently joined as a business member. Can others in my business use my membership?
A. CLA membership is for individuals so your membership is personal to you. However, group membership can be arranged which will allow you and your colleagues access to the full benefits of membership.
Q. I am pursuing a career in agriculture and the rural economy. Can CLA membership help me?
A. Student membership is available.
Q. I’ve just moved to the area, will I be able to meet fellow members?
A. Each regional office co-ordinates a comprehensive programme of events such as training courses and social functions as well as business and professional seminars. These are advertised in our Land & Business magazine, on the website and through specific mailings to branch members. In addition, there is a CLA presence at many of the major county and agricultural shows.
Q. By joining the CLA will I be committing any of my time?
A. As a membership organisation we welcome all those who want to get more involved in the Association. However, this is your choice and you are not making any time commitments by joining.
Q. Can I get my voice heard?
A. As a membership organisation, it is important that you have the chance to make your views known. Members are encouraged to contribute by attending events and through their local branch. Your main point of contact will be your regional team.
Q. Is my subscription tax deductible?
A. The CLA subscription is not a permitted deduction against trading income (for example, farming income). However, it is a permitted deduction against the income from a property business (for example, against rental income).
Q. How can I access advice?
A. Enquiries from members are welcome by phone, email, post or fax. However, in some cases only basic advice can be given without sight of the relevant paperwork or correspondence.
Q. Do I need to pay extra each time I seek advice?
A. Not at all. Your CLA subscription gives you full access to our Advisory Services. (The only exceptions are Friends of the CLA and Student members who are not entitled to use the Advisory Services.)
Q. As a Landowning member can CLA advisers act on my behalf?
A. Our advisers do not act for our members. They give clear, impartial advice with the aim of ensuring you are fully aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of any route of action and a speedy resolution of your issues. However, though CLA advisers do not act in place of a member’s own solicitor, accountant, surveyor, tax specialist or planning specialist they can advise and assist a member’s own adviser and offer a view on professional advice already received. Please note, we are not able to advise one CLA member against another CLA member.
Q. I am a professional member and wonder if it’s possible to tap in to your advice on behalf of my clients?
A. As well as giving you generic advice on all aspects of landowning, if your client is also a CLA member you can even address the specific issue in question and receive invaluable specific case-related advice and background information from our professional advisers. This can supplement your own expert knowledge and ensure that you give your clients the best possible service.
Q. Can I really rely on the accuracy of the advice I get?
A. The CLA is the independent authority on all aspects of land ownership in England and Wales.
Q. Can the CLA help with insurance?
A. CLA members benefit from their own specially established insurance service, designed to meet the needs of rural landowners. In addition, there are specially agreed services for members covering financial planning, tax management, foreign exchange, finance, fine art, healthcare and utilities.
Q. What is the CLA Game Fair?
A. The CLA Game Fair, one of the leading events in the rural calendar, is a world class event bringing together all those who share a common interest in the countryside, rural matters and country sports. As a CLA member you are entitled to a number of benefits including free and discounted admission tickets and access to the exclusive CLA Members’ Enclosure.
Q. Can I bring guests to the CLA Game Fair?
A. Members are encouraged to bring friends and family to enjoy the Game Fair and the exclusive facilities of the CLA Members’ Enclosure. Members are eligible for discounted rates for guest admission tickets.