CLA Cymru responds to the Autumn statement.

In Wales the rural economy is faced with intensifying uncertainty.

Responding to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, CLA Cymru’s Director Nigel Hollett says:

“We do not underestimate the economic predicament faced by the Chancellor as the UK goes into recession and inflation reaches record highs. But it is hard to describe this as a ‘budget for growth’ which is the Chancellor’s aim. The UK is one of the most taxed major economies, and the higher taxes and lower public spending announced in this statement fundamentally mean less growth and less investment in the short to medium term.

“The rural economy is already 19% less productive than the national average – suffering from poor connectivity and grid connection, outdated planning systems and an unnecessarily complex tax regime for diversified rural businesses. In Wales the rural economy is faced with intensifying uncertainty as farming – the backbone of the rural economy – is yet to understand the real impact of the Sustainable Farming Scheme, and proposals affecting the tourism sector may supress this vital industry.

Fixing the rural productivity gap, which involves structural change, would add £43bn of GVA to the national economy. Whilst rural business owners are determined to succeed, we need to see Government - in Westminster and Wales - match those ambitions, developing a policy agenda that will unlock the potential of the rural economy.”