New Rural Productivity Plan will help countryside to thrive but better broadband plan still needed, says CLA

20 August 2015

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has welcomed the Government’s new Rural Productivity Plan which is published today.

CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price said: “The challenge of delivering improved productivity in our rural areas is different to that in our towns and cities. We welcome the specific focus on rural areas in this announcement. 

“We need more homes in the countryside that first time buyers can afford and there is a big opportunity to improve on this. A pragmatic planning framework is critical to delivering this. We have long argued for greater flexibility in the use of rural exception sites and we will continue to work with Government to make this happen. However the plan lacks action on the important priority of increasing availability of homes to rent in rural areas.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to permitted development rights to unlock investment in homes and businesses. This must now be supported by local councils to ensure it delivers.   

"Ministers rightly recognise that mobile and broadband coverage is vital to creating growth and jobs in rural areas. Unfortunately this latest plan still falls short of giving rural communities and businesses the confidence that the universal service they are crying out for will be achieved.”

 

The Government’s Rural Productivity Plan can be found here:  www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-one-nation-economy-a-10-point-plan-for-boosting-rural-productivity