Campaigners launch general election 'missions' for UK rural economy

The policy 'missions' cover numerous topics, including sustainable farming and affordable rural homes
The policy 'missions' cover numerous topics, including sustainable farming and affordable rural homes

Rural campaigners have launched six policy recommendations for the next government which, if implemented, they say could generate up to £43 billion for the UK economy.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said its six plans would unlock the countryside’s 'untapped economic potential' while closing the rural productivity gap.

According to the body, the rural economy is around 19% less productive than the national average.

Its policy 'missions' cover numerous topics, including sustainable farming, affordable homes, rural economic growth, responsible access, a connected countryside and rural crime.

The organisation, which represents farmers and landowners, said its recommendations offered "practical and cost-effective solutions to some of the key barriers to rural business success and will help rural communities flourish".

They have been developed following conversations about how politicians from all parties will be approaching their manifestos and what sort of ideas are most likely to be listened to.

If implemented, the ideas contained within these six short documents could generate up to £43bn for the national economy, according to the CLA.

The rural campaigning body added it has already had several conversations with different political parties about the recommendations in each mission.

Jonathan Roberts, CLA director of external affairs, said: “The launch of these documents marks the first phase of our general election strategy, which is to work closely with stakeholders in all of the major parties as they develop their manifestos.

"The next phase will begin later this month as we rollout an extensive engagement strategy with candidates of all major parties across England and Wales.

“Through our Rural Powerhouse campaign, the CLA is well placed to guide the next government, whichever party forms it, towards building a policy agenda that will finally unlock the vast potential of the rural economy.”

It comes after the new president of the CLA recently urged all political parties to develop 'robust and ambitious' policies for the rural economy.

Victoria Vyvyan, who was elected in November, said it was a 'crucial time' for farming and the rural economy.

She warned that rural communities were being hit hard by the cost of living crisis and farmers were being impacted by the phasing out of the BPS.