CLA galvanises support for Rural Powerhouse campaign

The Rural Powerhouse campaign looks to close the rural productivity gap, adding £43bn a year to UK economy
The Rural Powerhouse campaign looks to close the rural productivity gap, adding £43bn a year to UK economy

Every parliamentary candidate in the upcoming general election is to receive a letter call for them to get behind the Rural Powerhouse campaign.

The initiative, led by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), aims to unleash the potential of the rural economy.

It aims to close the rural productivity gap, adding £43bn to UK GVA per year, while transforming the lives of people who live and work in the countryside.

Measures to help achieve this include making the countryside digitally connected, a revamped planning system, ending the uncertainty for farmers and allowing free and frictionless trade with markets, a simpler tax regime and more investment in rural skills.

The group is writing to every parliamentary candidate in every constituency in England and Wales to galvanise support for the campaign.

Incoming president of the CLA, Mark Bridgeman said: “The rural economy has immense potential for economic growth and job creation, but we need the right policies to unleash it.

“It is 18% less productive than its urban counterpart, but realising this untapped potential could add £43bn extra each year to the economy in England alone, on top of the £250bn it already does.”

“The Rural Powerhouse campaign is rooted in the belief that the countryside has an exciting future and we all have a role in shaping it.

“Any future MP worth their salt should proudly back the campaign.”

Rural businesses cover everything from farming to tourism and housing to energy production.

Owing to their location and unique circumstances, they often have to be agile and explore opportunities across different sectors.

This entrepreneurial spirit can, however, be hampered by a lack of investment, government support and excessive red tape.

Political candidates who support the campaign will receive regular briefings and campaign materials throughout the election period and beyond.

And whoever is voted into power, the initiative sets out a new blueprint for the rural economy.

Mr Bridgeman added: “At a time when political tensions are high, we are standing up proudly to say that we believe in the potential of the rural economy, and we are here to champion it.

“All MPs should know, as we do, that the countryside can provide answers to so many of the issues that concern ordinary people – from climate change and the environment to the housing crisis.

“We are ready and raring to go – and with the right political support we can realise the countryside’s huge economic and social potential.”