The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has set out concerns about the inflationary pressure of the new National Living Wage on employment costs and the lack of action to reduce the burden of tax on small unincorporated businesses.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “As a result of this budget farmers and other rural businesses are presented with significant inflation in their wage costs and the cut in corporation tax that is supposed to pay for it will not benefit them. We now need an urgent plan for how to ensure rural businesses are not left behind and jobs in rural communities are not put at risk.
“The Chancellor stated in the Budget that the new compulsory National Living Wage will be paid for by decreases in corporation tax. There are hundreds of thousands of family businesses in rural England and Wales that are unincorporated and therefore are taxed on higher tax rates.”
Right to Buy
Mr Robinson also commented on the extension of Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants, saying that Ministers must exempt homes in rural communities from new powers or risk a catastrophic drop in affordable homes for local people.
He said: “The housing crisis is most acute across rural England and Wales. Extending Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants would turn a challenging situation into a catastrophe and it is vital Ministers put in place a specific exemption from the policy for homes in rural communities.
“Across the countryside there are landowners that want to provide land for affordable housing, they understand that this means selling it at less than market value for this purpose. They will not do this if they know the homes will eventually be sold off into the open market and not kept for those in most need within their communities.
“In order to retain and deliver new homes that are desperately needed in rural areas, Government needs to develop a rural-specific housing strategy that tackles the major barriers such as slow and inconsistent adoption of local plans. We will work with Government to ensure that well designed rural homes are delivered in the right places.”