General election 2024: what the election means for CLA members

Director of External Affairs Jonathan Roberts writes on how the CLA is preparing for a general election
Westminster spring

“It’s silin’ it down” is a common phrase in Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire seat, one perhaps muttered by his constituents as the prime minister stood outside in the pouring rain to declare the general election. I could almost hear my own family, from just a few miles south of Richmond, declaring ‘he’s soaked t’bone’.

The fact we are having an election at all is perhaps only slightly more surprising than the manner in which it was called – dark, wet and drowned out by the noise of a particularly prattish protestor with a boom stereo.

None of the main parties were ready. Labour still had 100 seats to find a candidate for, the Tories even more so. But here we are.

So what does this mean for CLA members?

  • The rollout of SFI in England will continue unabated.
  • The recently announced Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for farmers have been formalised and will be unaffected.
  • The Renters Reform Bill will not proceed, but the issue will now likely be a priority for any future government – especially a Labour government. This will mean the fight to protect your private property rights starts again, and might be even harder next time.

Of course, for many, a general election just causes further uncertainty. Under the auspices of the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign, however, we have been actively working to influence the policy landscape ahead of this election for years. As a result, we are in a strong position to influence all the major parties in our pursuit of a robust and ambitious plan for the rural economy.

Our ‘missions’, published in February, were designed to influence parties beginning to pull together their manifestos. We know that they have gone down very well and we have had very good engagement from key figures across the board.

Our candidate packs – full of vital information for any candidate seeking to understand and represent the countryside - have been widely distributed to hundreds of candidates across the country. Engagement with these candidates continues with a variety of farm visits and briefings.

We are also focusing heavily on the post-election landscape. As soon as the manifestos are launched we will be doing some detailed work not just to interpret these policies, but to provide extensive analysis on how they can be delivered in a way that is conducive to the needs of the rural economy. I will update you on this work soon. For now, though, we need your help. We need to speak to as many candidates as possible. If you know candidates in your own area, and are willing to receive a candidate pack to hand over to them personally, then you can get in touch here. If you are willing to host a candidate on your farm or estate to show them about the nature of your business, please contact your regional office.

I understand many are fatigued with politics, but this election will have a profound impact on us all. At the CLA, we are hugely ambitious for our community, its economy and way of life. Since the inception of our Rural Powerhouse campaign we have been leading the conversation about how to grow the economy, create good jobs, strengthen our community and protect our environment. This is our opportunity to take that conversation to the next level, and I am determined we seize it.

Rural Powerhouse

Check out the CLA's six 'missions' for the next government

Key contact:

Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan Roberts Director of External Affairs, London