CLA Interim Director of External Affairs Tom Bartosak-Harlow looks back at the CLA's hugely success Celebration of Rural Business 2019 event at Parliament, which brought together members, MPs and Peers
This week over 80 CLA members travelled to Westminster for the CLA’s annual Celebration of Rural Business Reception in Parliament. It’s the one real opportunity in the calendar for us to get so many CLA’s members together in one place with the politicians who make the decisions that affect the day to day running of their businesses. From my perspective of running the CLA’s political engagement, this is one of our most important days of the year as it is a chance to deploy the best lobbyists the CLA has, our members, to engage with high profile decision makers from the Cabinet and the backbenches.
This year’s event saw Cabinet Minister Geoffrey Cox, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sue Hayman, former Farming Minister George Eustice and influential backbenchers such as Bim Afolami attend. CLA members also heard from Newbury MP and CLA member Richard Benyon who gave a candid assessment of the role he sees for landowners in the coming years and the need for the CLA and others to ensure they continue to promote the positive benefits private landownership delivers.
With over 40 Parliamentarians attending the event, it was also an excellent chance to promote the latest element of our 4G For All Campaign. The mobile operators have put forward a proposal that would mean no legally binding coverage targets for improvements to 4G coverage in the countryside and a slower rollout plan that Ofcom envisaged. The CLA has been clear that we must have legally binding targets and meaningful improvements in coverage over the next five years and it was great to secure the support of so many high-profile MPs (see some of the pictures below and check out our Twitter accounts for the rest).
If you were not able to make this year’s event don’t worry, we will be holding it again next year.