Levelling Up rural communities was top of the agenda when Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, met with the CLA (County Land and Business Association) along the shores of Ullswater.
During the meeting, Dr Hudson discussed the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business report on Levelling-up the rural economy. Specific issues were raised by CLA representatives about delays in the planning system and examples were given of first-class environmental educational projects which are being held-back by bureaucracy.
This follows a letter signed by Dr Neil Hudson last month asking the Prime Minister to back the rural economy, which referenced the Rural Business APPG report which highlighted how £43 billion could be added to the UK economy.
After the meeting, Dr Hudson agreed to press the issues with Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
MP for Penrith and The Border Dr Neil Hudson said: “It was great to meet with the CLA and CLA members to discuss important issues facing our rural communities. Issues including planning, funding for farming schemes, delivering land-based education in Cumbria and the pressures facing our rural stakeholders. I am really keen to work with the CLA and all our Cumbrian farmers to do the best thing for our area to bolster food production and security and to protect our precious environment."
Commenting on the meeting from the CLA, Libby Bateman said, ‘We have got a lot of work to do to ensure that the Government’s levelling-up agenda filters out to rural industries and isn’t simply a dollop of money for Northern towns and cities. As farmers and landowners navigate the agricultural transition process, it is essential they can adapt and planning plays a key role in enabling business vitality through flexibility. It was very good of Dr Hudson to spare the time to hear more about the findings of the Rural Business APPG report and I’m pleased to hear Government is taking notice and has recently made some announcements to help address some of the challenges.
“Replacing the existing government farming support is mired in delays and challenges, which need to be addressed. Upland farmers know how to balance the environment with food production as they have been doing it for many generations, it cannot be and is not an either / or situation.”