Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Get Ready for Changes to Economy

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Get Ready for Changes to Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAEME WHITFIELD Business editor graeme.whitfield@reachplc.com @Graemewhitfield

A RURAL business group has called on the Government to back its charter for the countryside after a survey pointed to big changes in the rural economy.

The CLA - which represents 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales - found that many farmers and landowners were looking to grow and diversify their business in the near future but also faced barriers relating to poor digital service and planning policies.

The CLA's survey also found large number of farmers that hadn't done any contingency planning for Brexit and has urged them to prepare for the changes that leaving the EU could bring.

Results of the survey came as a meeting was held at Westminster to discuss the post-Brexit countryside with Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

The CLA's Enterprising Countryside Charter calls for better 4G mobile coverage in the countryside, new rural enterprise frameworks so support business growth, use of rural enterprise plans to improve consistency in the planning system, modernising the criteria for 'sustainable villages' and having one Minister working for both Defra and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Skills responsible for the rural economy.

CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said: "With Brexit fast approaching and the new Agriculture Bill going through Parliament, those of us living and working in the countryside should be ready for rapid and significant change. We have a thriving entrepreneurial and creative rural business sector which is up for the challenge and ready to make the most of the opportunities Brexit presents.

"Rural businesses currently invest around PS13bn each year in, for example, new technologies, generating renewable energy, start-ups such as restaurants on farm, and vineyards. …

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