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Even more support needed for rural business – CLA

[Monday 09 February 2009]

DESPITE assurances from Defra secretary Hilary Benn that rural business is vital to the recovery of the national economy, the Country Land and Business Association is calling for even more support for business in the countryside.

We are pleased the performance of the Government's system to aid rural and urban businesses, Business Link, has improved, but more needs to be done to reconnect Government to the needs of rural businesses and the rural economy.

Henry Aubrey-Fletcher - CLA

Mr Benn made an important speech last week (See News, Friday) stressing the importance of rural business in helping the UK to survive the present recession – but the CLA believes that more needs to be done.

A report prepared for the Government by the Commission for Rural Communities "fails to come up with viable options for rural communities," says CLA president Henry Aubrey-Fletcher.

"We are pleased the performance of the Government's system to aid rural and urban businesses, Business Link, has improved, but more needs to be done to reconnect Government to the needs of rural businesses and the rural economy.

"We are continuing to speak to the regional development agencies, encouraging them to place far greater emphasis on rural business support.

"With regard to planning, the CLA has long called for an adaptable and flexible planning system that works with the grain of rural business and delivers affordable rural housing."

To read the Government’s response to the report, visit: www.defra.gov.uk/rural/pdfs/voice/rural-advocate-response.pdf

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