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Politicians must create proper rural manifesto – CLA

[Thursday 01 October]

Landowners, farmers and rural business leaders need a proper manifesto from politicians to plan a profitable future for the countryside, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) demanded yesterday.

Despite all the publicity – and controversy – surrounding this year’s party conferences, no-one has so far mentioned rural policy in any depth, a silence which has angered many rural business people.

CLA experts have produced a blueprint countryside manifesto and are demanding that politicians of all parties study it and take aboard some of its ideas.

“The clear message of the manifesto is that producing food is, and must remain the first function of the countryside,” said Douglas Chalmers, director of CLA North.

“Our Manifesto is a must-read for every politician. Many rural seats could change MPs this time, and all candidates need to be aware of their constituents’ issues. Those in non-rural seats should also be aware that every voter in Britain will benefit from an economically productive and environmentally sound countryside.”

In his Week in the Country column t0omorrow, out rural affairs expert John Sheard will lament on the lack of interest in country concerns amongst most politicians and wonder why it is often left to members of the Royal Family to take up the cudgels for country folk.

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