Government's spring budget has 'nothing to unlock the rural economy's potential', says CLA

CLA President Mark Tufnell says that the government needs to show it is on the side of hard-working rural families and business owners following a disappointing budget for the rural economy
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In Parliament today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt revealed the details of his 2023 Spring budget.

Responding to the announcement, CLA President Mark Tufnell said:

“After 12 years in charge, it is still difficult to see what – if any – ambition the government has for the rural economy. Rural businesses continue to be held back by apathy in public policy, not least in the planning system that actively holds back entrepreneurs from generating growth.

“The rural economy is 19% less productive than the national average. Closing this gap would add £43bn to the national economy. Nothing in this budget will unlock that vast potential.

The government needs to show it is on the side of hard-working rural families and business owners, that it matches their ambition and is serious about growing the economy. They need urgently to come forward with a robust plan that will remove the considerable barriers rural businesses, and communities, face to their future success.

CLA President Mark Tufnell

Regarding one potential change in the Budget- pending consultation, the definition of agriculture to include environmental delivery for Inheritance Tax purposes (4.32 in the Budget book):

“The CLA has campaigned extensively to change the definition of agriculture in the tax system to include ecosystem services. It is vital to give farmers and landowners the confidence they need to engage with environmental delivery, improving biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Without this change, we will see a perverse outcome whereby forward thinking, nature friendly farming will be punished by the tax system.

“This change would also serve to encourage farmers to look afresh at entering into Environmental Land Management schemes (ELM). For all the challenges faced by transitioning away from the old EU schemes, ELM has laid a path that is worth walking, and we encourage farmers to look very carefully at them.”

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