Sir Keir Starmer announced this week that the Labour Party will undergo a review of its rural policy. During his announcement, Sir Keir highlighted the CLA’s report for Rural Powerhouse Week in November that showed many farmers continue to be worried by the future of farm payments. He also promised to:
- Encourage people to buy more British food – including looking at whether more of the £2.4bn public spending on catering could be spent with British farmers and producers.
- Address what he argued were ‘serious and growing problems with farm payments’
- Invest in agricultural skills
The CLA maintains good relationships with Labour’s senior leadership and has now written to Sir Keir calling on him to support the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign which aims to significantly boost productivity across the rural economy.
The party that can turn the countryside into an economic powerhouse, while still respecting and preserving its unique identity, will win the support of many
Mark Bridgeman, President of the CLA, said:
“It is absolutely right for Sir Keir to be calling on the public to support British farmers and producers by buying British. It is important that he, and those on the political left more generally, not only recognise that British farmers produce food to some of the highest environmental and animal welfare standards in the world, but are openly proud of the fact.
“Rural votes are up for grabs. But to earn them, Sir Keir needs to follow through with a robust and ambitious plan not just for food producers but for all rural businesses and communities. The rural economy is 16% less productive than the national average. Closing that productivity gap would be worth up to £43bn for the economy, creating many thousands of jobs in the process. The party that can turn the countryside into an economic powerhouse, while still respecting and preserving its unique identity, will win the support of many. As with any party, we stand ready to work with Labour in the pursuit of such economic success.”