CLA reaction to new Cabinet appointments

25 July 2019

Theresa Villiers

Tim Breitmeyer CLA President reacts to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new cabinet. 

 On the appointment of Theresa Villiers MP as Secretary of State at Defra, he said:

“We welcome Mrs Villiers to her new role as Secretary of State at Defra. We look forward to working together to ensure a healthy farming sector can help to meet the environmental challenges we collectively face, while delivering a prosperous rural economy. 

“We’ve noted Mrs Villiers’ recent comments on a no deal Brexit, but we know there are many farmers across the country with grave concerns. Currently 60% of our food exports go to the EU. Were draconian tariffs put in place, world class British produce would become uncompetitive in our largest market overnight.

“Having said that, there are also tremendous opportunities. We are global leaders in producing quality food to high environmental and welfare standards. As landowners we are key to meeting ambitions on climate change and the environment. The rural economy has extraordinary potential ready to be unleashed. But only an ambitious, creative and robust policy platform will support all of this.

“She replaces Mr Gove who we wish well in his new role working across Government. We hope that he continues to champion the needs of our sector in his new brief.” 

On the appointment of Nicky Morgan MP as Secretary of State for DDCMS , he said:

“We welcome Mrs Morgan to her new role as Secretary of State for DDCMS. We look forward to working together to improve rural connectivity and bridge the rural/urban divide.

“We also believe that Mrs Morgan has the most tremendous opportunity to deliver on Boris Johnson’s promise of rural broadband for all which can unleash the currently untapped economic potential of the countryside, creating thousands of jobs in the process. But this is easier said than done, and we stand ready to help make this a reality.

“At the top of her inbox will be a proposal from mobile operators on delivering a single rural network to increase 4G coverage in the countryside. We made a consistent case to her predecessor that any proposals need to be legally binding, should be robustly monitored and require operators to publish roll-out plans. The focus should be on improving coverage as soon as possible.”

On the appointment of Robert Jenrick MP as Secretary of State for MHCLG , he said:

“We welcome Mr Jenrick as Secretary of State at MHCLG and look forward to working together to ensure rural communities can play their part in solving the housing crisis.  

“Changes to planning will be key, but there are huge opportunities in empowering appropriate development in villages across the countryside. Much of this needs to be focused on affordable housing, enabling more to live and work locally. This will provide a much needed boost to rural economies and go some way to reversing the long-term decline of many of our villages.”