The CLA is calling on prospective parliamentary candidates and political parties to pledge their support for profitable and sustainable farming, as it is a bedrock of the rural economy.
Party political election manifestos have included various commitments on becoming carbon neutral and planting more trees. However, land managers’ and farmers’ roles in this context have had scant mention.
Profitable and sustainable farming is a fundamental cornerstone of the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign which seeks to unlock the potential of the rural economy. At present the rural economy is 16% less productive than the national average. If this productivity gap could be closed then billions could be added to the national economy.
Through the Rural Powerhouse campaign the CLA is seeking support for:
- A fully connected countryside
- A planning system designed for rural communities
- Profitable and sustainable farming
- Investment in skills and innovation
- A simpler tax regime
Profitable farming can go hand in hand with delivering public goods such as enhancing the environment and sequestering carbon but only through long-term business planning that must be backed by the certainty of multi-annual investment by government, which should include direct investment in skills and productivity.
CLA East Regional Director Cath Crowther said:
“We would urge parliamentary candidates of all persuasions to show their support for the CLA Rural Powerhouse campaign and be explicit in their commitment to our countryside, rural communities, farmers and businesses.
“They can do this by supporting robust and ambitious plans and policies to unlock the potential of the rural economy, particularly in recognising the unique role it plays in delivering growth and jobs, while answering society’s demands for food production and action on the environment.”
“Parliamentary dilly-dallying around Brexit has prevented finalisation of the proposed Agriculture Bill, which will provide detail on the most radical restructuring of the food and farming sector, including the agri-food supply chain, in a generation.
“We would strongly urge a newly elected government to finalise this, as well as the Environment Bill urgently to stop the endless cycle of uncertainty and frustration.”