Monday, 18 May 2015 13:37

Government urged to boost rural economy

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Government urged to boost rural economy

BUSINESS leaders have urged the new government to take early action to prioritise the rural economy.

Ministers could provide a much needed boost to the rural economy during their first 100 days in office, said the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

MPs should take decisive action on rural broadband and reform how land is acquired for major infrastructure projects, it warned.

The CLA is pressing ministers to act through the legislative programme to be announced in the Queens Speech on 27 May and the Budget Statement on 8 July.

CLA president Henry Robinson said: "The Conservative election campaign set expectations for action during the 'first 100 days' of government and rural businesses will be looking for them to deliver.

Mr Robinson said the organisation was calling the government to deliver on three immediate priorities - including a Universal Service Obligation for Broadband.

"Too many people living and working in the countryside still suffer from poor or non-existent broadband connection," he said.

"It is time for ministers to impose a Universal Service Obligation of at least 10Mbps per second on network providers for all rural homes and businesses.

"Ministers must end the competitive disadvantage faced by rural businesses."

The second prority is a compulsory purchase regime that delivered major infrastructure while being fair to home-owners and landowners

"We have seen good progress in the past year towards much-needed reform of the out-dated compulsory purchase system for major infrastructure projects.

"It is now time to deliver and end the terrible uncertainty and years of business stagnation that rural firms and families currently suffer.

"Any policy or project announcements related to infrastructure like HS2 must have a commitment to compulsory purchase reform at their heart."

The CLA also wants an end to what it describes as discrimination against unincorporated family businesses.

Many family businesses were sole traders or partnerships and had not benefited from corporation tax cuts, said Mr Robinson.

"As the chancellor plans to bring forward a law to guarantee no increases in income tax, national insurance and VAT, he must not forget the discrimination faced by family businesses that have not benefited from corporation tax cuts.

"He must work with us to identify incentives through income and property tax reliefs that promote growth amongst these vital entrepreneurial enterprises."

People in this conversation

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.