The CLA, which represents more than 33,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses across England and Wales, has responded to the announcements about housing and cuts to Defra that were made by the Chancellor in today’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “This statement set out bold ambitions to deliver 400,000 affordable homes across the country. It is vitally important that these policies deliver for rural communities who are in desperate need of new homes. We will continue to work closely with Government to ensure the direct investments and planning reforms work for rural people.”
On cuts to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
The Chancellor announced day-to-day operation cuts of 15% to Defra.
Mr Murray said:“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is an important department doing crucial work for the environment and the economy. We will work with Defra to help them ensure the cuts do not impact on crucial front line services such as tackling animal and plant pests and diseases, and flood prevention. We will also advise Ministers on areas where there may be opportunities for cuts.
“We will work also with other departments that oversee policy and deliver crucial services to rural communities. We will work with HMRC to understand how plans to digitise the tax system will work for rural areas that have significant difficulties in areas such as online registration for farming basic payments.”