Raft of rural measures in Chancellor’s Autumn Statement get thumbs up from CLA.

24 October 2013

The Chancellor's Autumn Statement delivers hope to the countryside by stimulating the rural economy with a promise to reform the planning system, simplify tax for small businesses and overhaul the broadband infrastructure, CLA President Harry Cotterell said today (29 November).

Mr Cotterell said: "The creation of the Community Rural Broadband Fund with a pot of £20million to help provide superfast broadband is great news, although we must not forget the remaining 10 percent of rural homes and businesses that will still not have access to good broadband.

"A flexible and deregulated planning system is essential for delivering rural growth in the short-term. Well done to the Chancellor for confirming that the presumption in favour of sustainable development will stay in the National Planning Policy Framework. This is extremely welcome, as is the consultation to use redundant agricultural buildings for other business purposes which the CLA has called for since 2004."

The CLA President added: "We support the Chancellor's desire to simplify small business taxation. The majority of our members run, own and manage small businesses and virtually of all of them find the tax regime a numerical obstacle course. We encourage the Chancellor to be bold and will engage with the Government to try to make sure tax simplification works in practice."

Mr Cotterell said the CLA was delighted that the Government intends to review the way in which the Habitats Directive is implemented. He said: "The Government is starting to melt the goldplating on this directive. We support conservation, but it is important that humans are considered as important as bats, newts and dormice."