The purpose of the meeting was for the CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas to raise various farming and concerns of those living and working in rural areas as well as government policy matters as it relates to the rural economy. The meeting also afforded Roberto Weeden-Sanz an opportunity to set out his vision for the constituency.
Discussions specifically covered related issues and included:
- Agricultural input costs such as energy; food standards; food security and international trade agreements
- Agricultural Transition – Basic Payment Scheme reduction in farm support payments, and the replacement Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme to support farming income streams
- Obstacles to economic growth in rural areas locally, and more generally, with a specific focus on planning issues, affordable housing, infrastructure (digital and transport connectivity), electricity grid capacity, skills and employment issues.
Roberto Weedon-Sanz said: “It was great to meet with Lucinda to discuss the work the CLA are doing in championing the rural economy, especially farming and tourism. These sectors represent the lifeblood of Scarborough and Whitby's economy, and I passionately support the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign to unleash our full economic potential by removing obstacles to growth."
“I shared my plan to create more employment opportunities for young people locally, and the need for reform of the planning system. Coming from a farming family, I am committed to the UK achieving food security. And I will continue to meet with farmers over the coming months to hear their concerns and aspirations first-hand and how I can help. Safeguarding our rural economy will be at the heart of my campaign, and I look forward to visiting more local farmers hosted by the CLA."
CLA Director North Lucinda Douglas said: “Our meeting with Roberto was constructive, and we look forward to host him on a farm visit in spring. Many of the challenges we discussed can be addressed by removing obstacles to the development in our countryside and coastal areas.”
“Farmers simply want to fill food baskets and look after the environment, but their mission to do so is compromised if they are not supported in this endeavour. If not addressed, the UK’s food security would be impacted, with food scarcity and higher costs to consumers. These are open goals in the run-up to the next General Election, and any party that comes up with a genuinely ambitious plan to grow the economy in rural areas would, I suspect, win a great deal of support.”