CLA calls for rural business support

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The government is being urged to support rural businesses across the UK

Businesses operating in rural areas across the country are among some of the most important when it comes to delivering a sustained recovery for many local economies.

As such, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is now calling upon the new government to make good on its pre-election pledges and deliver the measures needed to bolster support for these operators, sooner rather than later.

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 argued there are three immediate concerns the CLA would like to see addressed under this new government's watch, with a focus on business connectivity, an end to discrimination against unincorporated family firms and an increase in fairness under compulsory purchase schemes for major infrastructure projects.

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

"It is time for ministers to impose a universal service obligation of at least 10 megabits per second on network providers for all rural homes and businesses. Ministers must end the competitive disadvantage faced by rural businesses."

Meanwhile, the CLA chief went on to add that recent changes to the outdated compulsory purchase regulations that left many rural businesses facing serious financial costs when new infrastructure works required them to move premises have been beneficial.

However, uncertainty still remains regarding the future direction of reform in this area and this is an issue the CLA wishes to see tackled as quickly as possible to help to address possible stagnation in areas where projects are planned but action to compensate those affected has not yet been put in place.

And finally, Mr Robinson argued more now needs to be done to end any potential discrimination against unincorporated family businesses across the UK, with the chancellor being reminded to ensure family firms are not left out of major reforms to help reduce costs across industry in the years ahead.

Indeed, as the chancellor plans to bring forward new laws guaranteeing no increases in income tax, national insurance and VAT, he has been reminded that many family-run operations will not benefit from future corporation tax cuts.

Placing the issues affecting small business operators across the country at the forefront of new government thinking is essential to ensuring a lasting recovery for the nation as a whole and these are therefore areas of concern the prime minister will need to tackle in the coming months.